Hand Sanitizers have become an indispensable part of our life. Whether we are at home, in-office or anywhere, it is a must-have in your kitty. Nowadays, more stress is laid on maintaining good hand hygiene in order to fight pandemic diseases which are known to spread through contaminated hands. When the infected person coughs or sneezes the virus-laden droplets from the person’s mouth or nose is transferred to other person. So there is a constant need to create awareness among people to cover their mouth/nose while sneezing with a handkerchief and also maintain good hand hygiene to protect themselves from diseases. Apart from the coronavirus, there are so many other contagious diseases which are spread through contaminated hands, such as gastrointestinal diseases, respiratory diseases, chickenpox, meningitis, hepatitis A, H1N1.
With the outbreak of pandemic disease, the world has noticed a surge in demand and consumption of handwashes and hand sanitizers. It has become a much sought after product that many drugstores, supermarkets are running short of it. Hence, people started producing their own hand made sanitizers to meet their own demands. But it should be understood that not all hand sanitizers are equally effective against certain disease-causing virus and bacteria. The most exposed part of your body to many disease-producing virus, fungi and bacteria is your hands. So utmost care should be taken to maintain good hand hygiene to protect our body from various health hazards. Here in this article, we will be providing detailed information about hand sanitizers and which type of hand sanitizers give you complete protection from the deadly disease-causing microbes.
What Is Hand Sanitizer?
Hand Sanitizer is known as Hand Rub. It is commonly available in liquid or gel form which is generally used to provide protection to our hands from various pathogens (disease-causing microbes). Hand Sanitizers are mostly available in 2 variants i.e
- Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer
- Non-Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer
Hand Sanitizers are used after washing your hands with soap and water OR when soap and water are not easily accessible. Depending upon the type of hand sanitizers, the effect may be variable. Among the 2 variants i.e alcohol-based and non-alcohol based, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are considered to be more effective against the disease-producing microbes. It is usually available in the combination of isopropyl alcohol, ethanol or propanol. Isopropyl alcohol should be above 65-70% in the hand sanitizers to be effective against various kinds of disease-producing microbes. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers work instantly and kill almost 99.9% of pathogens by denaturing proteins and effectively neutralizing certain strains of virus and bacteria making our hands germ free.
The non-alcohol variant of hand sanitizers generally contains BAC (benzalkonium chloride) or triclosan. Non-alcohol based hand sanitizers do not kill the germs, it merely reduces its growth on your hands and is not effective on many strains of virus, fungus and bacteria.
How Does It Work?
Hand Sanitizers are not only available in liquid form, but also available in the form of gel, wipes, foam etc so that you can choose any of them according to your personal preference. Hand Sanitizers were developed to be used after washing your hands or when the soap and water are not easily accessible. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain isopropyl alcohol in the concentration of 65%-95%, which has proved to be very effective in killing the germs present on the skin surface. The alcohol present in hand sanitizers works instantly and effectively kills almost 99% germs present on the hands, thereby helping to maintain good hand hygiene. Most of the alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain moisturizers because alcohol is known to have a drying effect on the skin.
Importance Of Isopropyl Alcohol In Hand Sanitizers
Of the 2 variants of hand sanitizers, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are known to be more effective in destroying the germs present on the skin surface. It readily acts in less than 15-30 seconds and effectively eliminates the pathogens, thereby providing protection from various contagious diseases.
Viruses come in various shapes and sizes and they are embedded in a protein coat called the capsid. In some strain of viruses, it is noticed that the capsid is surrounded by an envelope composed of a lipid by-layer, these strains of viruses are known as enveloped viruses. The isopropyl alcohol present in the hand sanitizers is known to combat the viruses by denaturing the protein and dissolving the lipids, thereby providing effective protection against various disease-producing microorganisms. It has been noticed that the pathogens are extremely vulnerable at 70% alcohol content.
So before purchasing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, check the label to find out the concentration of isopropyl alcohol in the hand rub and look for hand sanitizers which have an alcohol concentration of 70% or above.
Benefits Of Hand Sanitizer
Lately, hand sanitizers have become an indispensable part of our life as it provides protection from various disease-causing microbes. The practice of using a hand sanitizer is considered to be the most convenient and effective method of keeping our hands clean. They are available in easy to carry bottles making it convenient to use anytime and anywhere. Let’s find out the other benefits of a hand sanitizer
- Hand sanitizers effectively eliminate germs present on our hands and provide complete protection from the disease-producing microorganisms.
- Hand sanitizers are known to be cost-efficient and give long-lasting protection against germs.
- It is more convenient to use as you just need a few drops of it and rub it against your hands to provide protection from germs when soap and water are not easily accessible.
- Most of the hand sanitisers are enriched with moisturizers such as aloe vera, glycerine to keep your hands soft and moisturized.
- Hand sanitizers are convenient to carry around as they are available in portable bottles.
- It gives instant protection against germs by working in almost 15-30 seconds, faster than hand wash.
Also Read : Hand Sanitizer- Your Defence Against Diseases
Limitation Of Hand Sanitizers
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers which contain isopropyl alcohol, ethanol or propanol are known to give 99.9% protection from germs. In order to be effective and give complete protection, ensure that your hand sanitizer has alcohol content above 65-70%. Anything less than this is found to be ineffective. But one should remember that not all hand sanitizers are created equal. There are few limitations to these as well.
- Alcohol is not capable of cutting through dirt, dust, grime and blood, hence should be washed off completely for the hand sanitizer to be effective.
- Hand sanitizers cannot be a complete replacement for hand washes and should not be considered as a cleaning agent. Hand sanitizers work well in conjugation with hand washes. Wash your hands with hand wash and then apply hand sanitizers on clean,dry hands to be more effective.
- Hand sanitizers containing less than 60% of alcohol are considered to be ineffective.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can have serious health hazards if ingested accidentally.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are considered to have bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal effect. But they are considered to be ineffective against bacterial spores and protozoan oocysts.
Hand Sanitizers are known to be very effective in eliminating various kind of disease-producing microorganisms if used properly. The practice of using hand sanitizers helps to keep your hands germ-free and may decrease our chances of various contagious diseases from crippling us.
Also Read: Limitations Of Hand Sanitizer
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