Germs are everywhere! The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone realize the importance of hand hygiene. Bacteria and viruses get onto your hands from touching things around you, and they can make you sick. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing hands at regular intervals with soap and water is the key to keeping them clean and germ-free. When there’s no access to soap and water, the CDC advises using hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol to avoid getting sick and halting the spread of dangerous illnesses like COVID-19. Read more to know how to use hand sanitizers safely and effectively.
How does a hand sanitizer work?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an ideal defense against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. Sanitizers kills viruses and bacteria by destroying the outer coatings. When used properly, they can kill up to 99.99% of germs, leaving your hands clean.
How to use a hand sanitizer for optimal germ protection
Knowing how to use hand sanitizers correctly is the key to ensuring good hand hygiene. This helps protect your employees and customers from falling sick and stops the transmission of lethal viruses like the coronavirus. As per the CDC:
1. Remove all visible dirt from hands before applying the sanitizer.
2. Take a dime-sized amount of the product and apply it to your palms.
3. Rub both hands together thoroughly, ensuring the sanitizer covers all parts of your hands and fingers.
4. Rub for 30 seconds until all the sanitizer absorbs into your skin, and your hands.
5. Let dry.
NOTE: Don’t rinse or wipe off the hand sanitizer before it dries well as this may reduce its efficiency. It’s also important to note the CDC cautions that sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs, and their effectiveness goes down if your hands are really dirty or greasy. Also, they might not remove chemicals or other contaminants that might be on your hands, like pesticides.
How to choose an effective hand sanitizer
With everyone being more aware of the importance of clean hands due to the COVID pandemic-19, hand sanitizers are here to stay. There are a few key features to look for when choosing a hand sanitizer. For a sanitizer to be effective at killing germs and bacteria, it’s important to check its alcohol concentration. Public health and medical experts opine that hand sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60% to 95% are the most potent arsenal in the fight against viruses, germs, and bacteria. When buying a hand sanitizer, be sure to check the product label to ensure it meets the alcohol percentage criteria.
Do hand sanitizers expire?
Before you learn how to use hand sanitizer, it’s critical to determine if the product is potent enough to do its job. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the manufacture of hand sanitizers, requiring most companies to post an expiration date on them. However, even if a sanitizer is past this date, it may still retain some of its potency. However, to be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to replace hand sanitizer once it’s past its expiration date.
Ingredients to avoid in a sanitizer
Sanitizers and disinfectants are witnessing a surge in popularity as businesses, workplaces, and restaurants open up amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. These certainly go a long way in keeping your facility germ-free and hygienic. Unfortunately, some hand sanitizers contain harmful chemicals that can damage your health in the long run. Stay clear of brands containing harsh fragrances and phthalates. Multiple studies recognize some fragrance ingredients as being allergens, hormone disruptors, asthma triggers, and even potential carcinogens. Parabens extend the shelf life of hand sanitizers, but they also have links to several serious health risks like cancer, impaired endocrine function, and skin irritation. Researchers have determined that Triclosan in many hand sanitizers is an extremely dangerous chemical, and it may cause skin cancer and impair liver function. It’s best to choose a hand sanitizer that contains natural moisturizing agents, such as aloe vera, in addition to alcohol.
Placing hand sanitizer stations strategically throughout the office or other workspace is a simple way to combat the spread of germs. Keep in mind these tips and pointers when shopping for hand sanitizers. Educating employees and customers on how to use hand sanitizer properly will help your workplace fight the virus and make its way past the COVID-19 pandemic.