Hand sanitizer: Things you need to know
Hand hygiene turns out to be one of the most essential regimen these days and all of you know why. One of the most effective ways to protect ourselves from all germs is to clean our hands, especially today when the whole world is dealing with a medical crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the preventive measures of coronavirus, hand sanitization is an effective primary measure. That is the reason, the market of hand hygiene has seen a great surge in sales, especially of hand sanitizers.
According to google trends, the term "hand sanitizer" has been searched approximately twice as much as the terms pills or medicines in this pandemic.
Out of this, you can estimate how trending and popular the hand sanitizer is amongst the people from all around the world. However, do you know what type of sanitizers are effective, and what is the right method to apply these?
This article can help you to know hand sanitizer in a better way. So, without any further ado, let's begin the expedition of knowing "hand sanitizer".
1. What is hand sanitizer?
It is an agent that is formulated to apply on hands to remove or kill common pathogens present on our hands. You can also call it hand rub or hand antiseptic.
These formulations can be in any form: liquid, gel, wipes, cream, or foam. The efficacy of hand sanitizers can also vary, majorly depending upon its wide variety of settings in which it is required to be used.
"The first effort of making hand sanitizer was done in 1946 by Jerry and Goldie Lippmann and give name GOJO Hand Cleaner".
2. Types of hand sanitizers:
Accordant with active ingredients, hand sanitizers are of two types:
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers
Alcohol-based Formulations contain 60 to 95% alcohol in the form of ethanol, n-propanol, or isopropanol. At these concentrations, these formulations right away denature the proteins of certain microbes, disrupt their cellular metabolism, and inactivate them.
Alcohol-free hand sanitizers
These types of sanitizers are antimicrobial agents like triclosan or disinfectants like benzalkonium chloride (BAC).
"CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends alcohol-based hand sanitizer with more than 70% isopropanol or 60% ethanol in healthcare settings."
3. Benefits of using hand sanitizer
One of the major benefits of hand sanitizer is that these are portable and easy to apply. Another important benefit of this formulation is its broad-spectrum microbicidal activity and rapid action. Hand sanitizers also moisten the hands and reduce irritation.
4. How effective a hand sanitizer is?
This is the most important question to be answered. How effective the sanitizers are and how long their efficacy stays?
A sanitizer with 60%–95% exhibits optimum bactericidal activity. If used properly, an alcohol-based sanitizer can efficiently act upon fungi, the vegetative form of bacteria and enveloped viruses. Similar effects can be seen with some of the non-alcoholic formulations. However, these sanitizers are ineffective against bacterial spores, encysted parasites, and non-enveloped viruses.
Furthermore, in the context of its stay, lower doses evaporate slower, whereas, higher doses evaporate at a faster rate. However, lower doses possess less efficacy comparatively. Generally, the evaporation time of 70% alcohol is optimal and efficient to kill the microbes.
"The coronavirus shares a similar morphology in the form of enveloped, positive single-stranded RNA virus. Such types of viruses can efficiently be deactivated using solvents like ether (75%), ethanol, chloroform, or chlorine-containing disinfectants."
5. A proper way to use hand sanitizer
To maximize the efficacy of the sanitizer, a proper way of using it is essential.
"Take around 2.5-3 ml of sanitizer (corresponding to two pumps from the dispenser) and rubbed all over the hands for about 25-30 seconds and do complete air-drying."
6. Precautions while applying hand sanitizer
Sanitizers contain alcohol content in it and that is why it can be inflammable and catch fire. It is advisable not to use or store sanitizers near the gas stove or any inflammable thing.
7. How to prepare DIY hand sanitizer
You should always buy market sanitizers, instead of making it at home because of two reasons. First, it is safe to buy a formulated product that contains alcohol; second market sanitizers are produced with all the guidelines and are effective to use.
However, still, if you need a sanitizer immediately, you can go for this DIY formula.
# 3/4th cup of rubbing alcohol or isopropyl
# 1/4th cup of aloe vera gel
# 10 drops of lemon or any kind of essential oil (lavender or tea tree).
First, wash your hands, dry it, and then start the making process. Pour all three ingredients in a clean bowl and mix them well using a spoon. When you get a runny or gel-like consistency, your sanitizer is ready to use. Store it in a bottle and keep it at a safe place.
8. Are there any disadvantages of using hand sanitizer?
-As these sanitizers contain alcohol or other very hard chemicals. There can be some disadvantages to these products.
-The very first is that these sanitizers are not safe to be used at inflammable places.
-The other disadvantage is that its ingestion can cause toxicity. Adults know the purpose of these products, but somehow, children can take these as an edible thing.
-These sanitizers can't wipe off the dust and grime of your hands.
-Sanitizers can't remove all types of chemicals like heavy metals and sanitizer from your hands.
-Sanitizers won't work if your hands are too dirty and greasy.
-Excess usage of these products may cause dryness.
9. Which is better: Hand sanitizer or soap?
CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible as this technique can wash away all types of microbes along with grease and dirt from your hands. (washing hands again and again leads to dryness, try to use ultra hydrating moisturizer after every wash).
It is also recommended to wash your face with hydrating foaming face wash to keep your face clean, dust & germ free.
However, if you are at places where soap and water are not available, sanitizer is the only good alternatives product. The only thing is to use sanitizers in a proper way to get its maximum benefits.
10. When to practice hand hygiene?
When we are talking about hand sanitizers, we should also know the when to practice hand hygiene (either with hand sanitizer or soap)
1) Before and after:
Eating or handling food and feeding child
Taking, giving or applying medication or skin ointments
Preparing food beverage or food
Handling uncooked food items
Handling animals or their stuff
Cleaning and mopping
After sneezing or blowing and wiping mouth, nose or sores
3) While moving one place to another, after breaks or on arrival and leaving the place.
Make sure to do hand hygiene in these situations or whenever you need to do it.
Hand sanitization is a very essential medium through which we can protect viruses or other pathogens from entering our internal body. Hence, we can protect our body from infection, being ill, and keep it healthy. So, why not to take an initiative right now and start healthy and proper hand hygiene.
“Practice Hand Hygiene, Use Hand Sanitizer or Soaps and Keep Yourself and Surroundings Protected”
Finally, let's take a look at some frequently asked questions regarding hand sanitizers:
1. Do sanitizers have an expiry date?
Generally, three years after its manufacturing, sanitizers expire. The efficacy of killing germs gets vanished after a specific time and these sanitizers then provide no more benefit.
2. How effective and safe DIY hand sanitizers?
Any fault in the making of hand sanitizers can cause adverse situations. This either can burn your hands as well or else might be unable to protect you from the germs.
3. What else can a hand sanitizer do?
You can also clean or sanitize your phones, cover other household items with, in case of emergency.
Hand sanitizer also helps to remove dark spots or marker spots. Just pour some of the sanitizers on the required surface, left for 5-10 minutes, and rub it. You will see the magic.
Else, these sanitizers can also remove any sticky labels or notes precisely. It doesn't leave any stickiness behind.