Following the COVID-19 outbreak around the world, various measures have been mentioned by WHO to reduce the risk of infection. One of the measures is cleaning one’s hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
The Centre for Disease Control recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol only when soap and water are not available.
While it is true that hand sanitisers have antiseptic properties, dermatologists remind us that they are not a one-liquid-fits-all-problems solution.
Here are common myths about hand sanitisers:
Myth 1: Hand sanitiser is the no. 1 solution to keeping germs at bay
Truth: Soap and water is the best way to keep germs at bay — when you scrub for 20 seconds.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but they do not eliminate all types of germs.
Myth 2: As long as I use sanitiser, I’m safe
Truth: Though its use is beneficial, it is not 100% protective. It is important to avoid needlessly touching surfaces in public places.
Hand sanitizers without 60-95% alcohol may not work equally well for many types of germs, and merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright.
Myth 3: If I have no soap, it’s best to use sanitiser
Truth: Grease and dirt in combination with sanitiser attract more viruses and germs instead of working on them. Water cleans and sanitiser disinfects.
Myth 4: A dab of sanitiser obliterates Coronavirus
Truth: To kill germs, sufficient sanitiser, enough to fill your palm when you cup your hand, needs to be applied to all hand surfaces and rubbed in until your hands are fully dry.
The aim is to coat the hand to form a protective film, so avoid scrubbing like you would with soap.