Hand-sanitizer is the second most-effective precautionary measure against COVID-19 with hand-washing being the first. With the advent of COVID-19, the sale of hand-sanitizers has spiked considerably causing the shortage of a product, which earlier was deemed as unnecessary.
The pandemic has not only prompted people to maintain strict hygiene but also shown that precaution is the only way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Although washing hands with soap and water top the list, hand sanitizers come in handy when soap and water are unavailable. However, not all hand sanitizers are equally effective against viruses and bacteria and should be purchased wisely.
Types of Sanitizers
There are two types of hand sanitizers available in the market, alcohol-based and alcohol-free. The alcohol-free hand sanitizers are composed of quaternary ammonium compounds, mainly benzalkonium chloride. These are generally gentle on the skin and also relatively safer than the alcohol-based ones. But most researches show that they’re not effective against all kind of germs.
As the solution of an alcohol-free hand rub is friendly towards the skin, the risks involved in accidental ingestion are also quite low. These also do not cause dryness in hands as they are mostly composed of water, Vitamin E, and green tea extract. All these ingredients are nourishing and thus frequent use of this type of sanitizer does not pose any risk of harming the skin.
The alcohol-based hand rub comes in two formulations, as recommended by WHO. One formulation has 80% ethanol and the other has 70% isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol-based rubs are clinically proven to be highly effective against most disease-causing bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19.
A very common side-effect of consistent usage of alcohol-based sanitizer is dryness. This dryness in severe cases can even lead to dermatitis. Since all alcohol-based products are highly inflammable, these should be kept away from fire and high temperatures. In case of accidental ingestion, the fatality risk is also high and professional help should be summoned immediately.
We are living in the era of a new-found disease which yet has no vaccination. The only way of protecting ourselves is through these precautionary measures. Hand sanitizer is the most convenient way of tackling any infectious disease due to its compactness as well as effectiveness. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are no-doubt more effective against germs than alcohol-free ones. WHO recommends the use of sanitizers with at least 70% alcohol for obtaining maximum results.
However, sanitizers alone would not be enough in the fight against infectious diseases. All the objects that are frequently touched should also be sterilized thoroughly. Other precautionary measures such as wearing masks in public places and practicing social-distancing are also to be kept in mind, in order to ensure protection against infectious diseases.