Do you know washing your hands with soap and water, or at least use hand sanitizer is the best way to fight the coronavirus that originated from Wuhan, China? This flu COVID-19 coronavirus has caused the World Health Organization to declare this flu as a global pandemic. Many doctors and nurses have asked people to wash their hands regularly with soap and water. If soap is not available, do wash your hands vigorously with clean water. If there is no water, a good hand sanitiser similar to a gentle antiseptic disinfectant helps to kills germs and viruses.
Why should you wash your hand?
People often touch their faces many times without realising it. Many diseases are spread via virus or bacteria, your hands contact many surfaces (such as doorknobs, tables, etc) throughout the day. The often unconscious touch of your face allows the virus to infect you via your mouth, nose, and eyes. Washing your hands cut this risk drastically by killing the germs, viruses, and bacteria.
- We touch our faces, such as mouth, nose eyes often without knowing this. This is how the virus and germs infect us.
- We touch our food and drinks with our hands and these allow virus and germs to survive and multiply in our food and drinks
- Many surfaces have contacts with many different people throughout the day, such as doorknobs, handrails, grab bars, lift buttons, etc. The virus can spread through these contacts.
- Washing your hand with soap and water, or hand sanitiser helps to cut these risks.
Washing your hands regularly cut down risks of getting COVID-19 and other illnesses.
When should we wash our hands?
Here are a few situations where you should wash your hands so as to have better hygiene and reduce the risks of contracting the flu virus.
- Before eating and cooking food.
- After using the toilet or bathroom
- After cleaning your home or office
- After touching animals, including your beloved family pets such as dogs or cats.
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose.
- When you just enter your home or office.
How to wash your hands properly with 7 steps technique?
These 7 handwashing steps help to make sure your hands are clean. The World Health Organization advises these handwashing steps to be effective and straightforward that cut down risks of disease transmission. Do not rush through these steps and spend at least 20 seconds on washing your hands thoroughly.
- Step 1: Wet your hands and apply enough liquid soap to create a good lather. The temperature of the water should be between 35ºC and 45ºC.
- Step 2: Rub your palms together in circular motions. Rotate clockwise and anticlockwise.
- Step 3: Wash the back of hands with the palm of the other hand. With your fingers linked through the other hand, use your right palm to rub the back of your left hand. Switch hands.
- Step 4: Interlink your fingers together, facing each other, into clasped hands. Then rub your palms and fingers together.
- Step 5: Cup your fingers together, with your right hand over and your left hand under. With your fingers interlocked, rub the backs of them against your palms. Switch hands.
- Step 6: Clean the thumbs by enclosing your right hand around your left thumb and rub as you rotate it, then switch hands.
- Step 7: Rub your fingers over your left palm in a circular motion. Switch hands.
After washing your hands with soap and water, you should then rinse with running water and dry your hands (via a paper towel, tissue or hand dryer if no paper towel is available). Do not touch any part of the hand dryer with your clean hands, as you will risk transferring bacteria back onto them. For easy understanding, here is a graphic illustration on how to wash your hands thoroughly with hands and soaps that thoroughly disinfect your hands.
Or use a hand sanitizer.
What is a hand sanitizer?
Hand sanitizer is a sanitizer especially made for cleaning hands when it is inconvenient to use water and soap. There are alcohol hand sanitizer and non-alcohol hand sanitizer. Alcohol sanitizer is made from ethanol (ethyl alcohol) and isopropanol (isopropyl alcohol). Non- alcohol sanitizer uses benzalkonium chloride (also refers to alcohol-free hand sanitizer) as active ingredients. And finally, then softening properties or fragrance is added based on the brands.
Can I use hand sanitizer instead of soap and water?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is recommended as an acceptable alternative to soap and water, with a minimum of at least 60% alcohol. That is the minimum standard most commercial hand sanitizer on the market such as Dettol, Purell, etc are formulated. Although handwashing with soap and water is still the most ideal choice, hand sanitizer works well and is effective when you are unable to use soap and water regularly. Alcohol hand sanitizer is the recommended choice, though, for people with sensitive skin, they may opt for alcohol-free hand sanitizer. For the most effective sanitizer to kill the virus, the sanitizer virucidal formulations should be at least 70% alcohol.
Is alcohol-free hand sanitizer effective?
Not all alcohol-free antiseptic disinfectant is effective. Some alcohol-free hand sanitizer is effective while most of them are not. Many lab research has shown alcohol-free sanitizer may not kill all types of germs, bacterias, and viruses. They usually contain quaternary ammonium compounds to kill bacterias and viruses, and these are not as effective. Do read up on the formulation and lab testing to understand each alcohol-free sanitizer on how it manages to kill the most virus, germs, and bacterias. Different formulations have different effectiveness. For example, this plant-based alcohol-free hand sanitizer is an effective antiseptic disinfectant. For example, the plant-based formulations of this alcohol-free hand sanitizer have been tested in NUS and CDC lab testing to kill the H1N1 flu virus, HFMD virus, etc.
Check out this alcohol-free hand sanitizer for children and elderly that kill 99.9% of viruses. Plant-based hand sanitizer are alcohol-free and gentler and safer for elderly and children’s hands and skin. An alcohol-based sanitizer does not mean it is harsh on our hands, you do have to choose a good brand that is gentle on the skin and uses other active ingredients such as lavender, peppermint, etc that works against bacterias and viruses too.
How does hand sanitizer work to kill viruses or germs?
Made from alcohol such as ethanol and isopropanol, hand sanitizer works to kill germs by dissolving the outer coating of viruses and bacteria. According to the journal Clinical Microbiology Review, alcohols destroy the viruses, bacteria, germs, or what we can call pathogens (disease-causing agents) by breaking apart the proteins, split the cells into pieces or mess the cell’s metabolism. For alcohol-free sanitizer, the benzalkonium chloride breaks the protein of the germ instead of alcohol.
What percentage of alcohol in hand sanitizer is effective?
Hand sanitizer needs at least 60% alcohol to be effective in killing viruses and bacteria. A good hand sanitizer should have 70% alcohol to be effective; a low percentage does not clean your hands enough and a higher than 70% alcohol dries out too fast to be effective. Good effective alcohol such as isopropyl works well for hand and surface sanitizer.
Why Use Hand Sanitizer?
When you are in a condition where you are not able to wash your hand, you can use hand sanitizer. Imagine when you don’t have access to soap and clean water, or you are nowhere near a sink, carrying a hand sanitizer can be the best option to protect your health. To get the benefit of it, use a hand sanitizer that at least contains 60% of alcohol. Hand sanitizer without at least 60% alcohol may not work for many types of germs and merely reduce the growth of the microbes rather than kill it. That’s why you have to choose hand sanitizer with at least 60% of alcohol because they are more effective at killing germs. Even though it is not as effective as water and soap, hand sanitizer can be used anywhere and everywhere. Based on studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-based hand sanitizer can reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations. But it doesn’t eliminate all types of germs.
Is Hand Sanitizer Safe To Use?
Yes, when used as directed, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are safe to use. There is no proof that alcohol-based hand sanitizer products are harmful. Alcohols are considered safe to use as an antiseptic. It has no toxic effect on the skin. However, overusing it might cause dryness or mild irritation, so use it wisely.
Which Hand Sanitizer Is The Best?
Hand sanitizer that contains 70% alcohol works best to fight off and kill germs, viruses, and bacteria. While hand sanitizer that contains 90% alcohol will evaporate immediately, leaving the germs, bacteria, and viruses still alive.
How To Use Hand Sanitizer?
Here are some steps to use hand sanitizer properly to clean your hands thoroughly
- Pour the gel into your hands (you can read the label to know how much you should use)
- Rub and scrub your hands with the hand sanitizer
- Do it to the palm of your hand, back of hand and fingers at least twenty seconds
- Wait until both of your hands are dry. Do not wipe your hands or wash them after applying
Washing Hands VS Using A Hand Sanitizer.
Maybe you are wondering, which one is better? What’s the difference between washing hands or using a hand sanitizer? Well, the answer is the purpose and the functionality of when you can do it. Based on the studies from CDC, handwashing doesn’t directly kill germs, it just reduces the number of bacteria on your hands. Because basically, soap is detergent that washes the microbes off your hands. While the alcohol in hand sanitizer directly kills microbes. Soap and water will be useful in preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria by removing it. Hand sanitizer is also useful in preventing the spread by killing it. However, hand sanitizer can’t protect all the germs and microbes. For example, it can’t protect you against Cryptosporidium, Norovirus, and Clostridium difficile. You can always use a hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash your hands to keep your hands clean. But remember not to overdo it. Using too much hand sanitizer can dry your skins and lead to crack and bleed. Also, you can consult your doctor if you have skin conditions like eczema. But you should always clean your hands by washing it by soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty or if you just touched chemicals. As recommended by healthcare professionals, you should wash your hands to keep protecting your health, but when soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer can be your best alternative. However, keep in mind when using hand sanitizer near children because it can cause alcohol poisoning when swallowed. We recommend you store the hand sanitizers out of the reach of young children and use them under adult supervision. One last useful tip, avoid touching your face with dirty hands! Hands can be a source of germs. Everything you touch during the day is covered in germs. And if you touch your lips, nose, or eyes, the bacteria or viruses can spread into your own body. Always bring a hand sanitizer in your bag or pocket, so you can say goodbye to viruses and bacteria from your hands. That’s some way to wash hands and use hand sanitizer properly. By doing this, you can fight off a lot of diseases, including coronavirus. Alcohol hand sanitizer kills coronavirus effectively. There are alcohol hand rubs as well as alcohol hand spray that you can use to spray on hand, which makes it easier. You may want a hand sanitizer spray gentle for elderly and children. Similarly, a small antiseptic disinfectant surface sanitizer spray for shoes, phones, and tables etc would be great to carry around.
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