Coronavirus is here and most likely for a longer time than we expected. With the severe impact on people’s health leading to several deaths globally almost every day, our only option is to keep safe at all times. But, how is that possible? Keep your hands clean!
Among all the rules of keeping safe and isolated, maintaining clean hands is the most effective measure. This is because hands are the most vulnerable parts of our body to germs. After all, they come into contact with people, objects, and even their selves. However, most people are in a dilemma of which method is better; hand sanitizer or washing hands with soap and water?
Both methods are effective in preventing coronavirus and other disease-causing germs. While any approach is better than doing nothing, which is more effective than the other? Read on.
How Does Hand Sanitizer Work?
Typically, hand sanitizer is applicable anytime and anywhere, especially when there’s no water and soap available. They are gels containing alcohol for destroying the germs existing on the skin. Alcohol in the hand sanitizer acts quickly and effectively in eliminating tiny organisms and most viruses.
Because alcohol tends to over-dry the skin, the market has several types of sanitizers that contain essential oils or lotion to avoid skin dryness and irritation. You can find a variety of approved hand sanitizers from protective hygiene.co.za.
How to Use Hand Sanitizer
Many people assume that hand sanitizer is only for the palm of the hands. However, the right way of using a sanitizer is to ensure the entire hand is clean. Therefore, use the recommended amount on the label of various sanitizers by squeezing it in the palm of your hand.
Rub the sanitizer generously over your whole hand, on the palms, back, and even the nail beds. If the sanitizer evaporates in less than 15 seconds, it shows you applied an inadequate amount. Do not wipe the excess away but continue rubbing until your hands are dry.
Benefits of Hand Sanitizer
- Just as it should, a hand sanitizer cleans up to 99% of germs if you use the right type Preferably, it would be best to wash your hands with water and soap anytime you are around food, but some situations call for a substitute; a hand sanitizer.
- Among the best reason for using hand, sanitizer is because it is portable. Undeniably, not everywhere will you find a sink and soap for washing your hands, especially in public areas. For this reason, a hand sanitizer comes in handy. Usually, you can find them in small containers that can fit even in your shirt pocket, handbag, or even designed as a wristwatch. This way, you will maintain clean hands always when you are on a train, public toilet, and after touching anything in public, at work, or in school.
- Hand sanitizers are perfect for group settings. It seems impractical to have a sink and soap for washing hands at the front of a class for students, teachers, and even the office. In areas with many significant people, a sanitizer would be ideal for preventing the spread of coronavirus and other diseases. Even better, a sanitizer will be perfect to have you work for a more extended period without leaving your desk to keep washing your hands.
- Some hand sanitizers contain lotion or essential oils that soften and moisturize your hands. Usually, such sanitizers do not contain alcohol because it tends to clean off the skin oils leaving your hands feeling dry and even crack at some point. Remarkably, they also have a wide range of fragrances to choose from that will have you smelling fantastic for the entire day.
Is Soap And Water Better?
Even though everywhere you turn to since COVID-19 began, you will find big to small bottles of sanitizers, washing your hands with soap and water tends to be more effective. Therefore, it would help sanitizers as a portable option when you cannot access soap and water.
According to experts, using soap and water is the best option for killing viruses from your hands. However, it will only be effective with continuous use as it proves to be more thorough. Besides, apart from killing germs from your hands which is the role of sanitizers, you will also need to clean them off.
Soap and water will remove actual debris from the hands, unlike sanitizers. It will kill, bind, and physically remove germs from the skin and down the drain with soap and water. But, is there better soap than the other?
While there’s still a dilemma on the best soap comparing antibacterial and regular soap, the fact is that soap is still soap. Unlike sanitizers, you can use any soap to kill the antibodies from your skin. The only difference would be the price, fragrance, size, shape, and color of the soaps available. So if you want to go the extra mile and choose antibacterial soap over regular soap, studies can prove that there’s no additional benefit to chase.
When Should You Wash Hands?
Given the fact that coronavirus is still wide-spreading, there’s more reason to keep your hands clean by washing your hands regularly. Therefore, you need to wash your hands under the below situations;
- Handling a meal: before, during, and after
- Before eating any food
- Before and after caring for anyone at home who is vomiting or diarrhoeic
- Treating a cut or wound: before and after
- After using the lavatory
- After changing soiled diapers or washing a kid who used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or treats
- After touching trash
How to Wash Your Hands
Hand washing is only as effective as everyone says only with the proper technique.
Proper handwashing transformed medicine in 1846. A Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis noticed that women giving birth in the maternity ward had higher risks of contracting fevers and even death extremes. He compared this to the women in midwives’ care, who did not ruin their hands in autopsies and surgeries.
Moreover, evidence shows that proper washing of hands with soap is likely to reduce the rate of respiratory illnesses from 25-50% in various pediatric population reports.
There are several proper guidelines on proper handwashing techniques provided by the CDC and other public service announcements, including Facebook posts. All these guidelines ensure that people utilize the 20 seconds of endorsed scrubbing.
The basic handwashing steps are;
- First, wet your hands for few seconds with clean, warm, or cold running water. Then, turn off the tap to avoid wasting water as you apply soap.
- Rub your hands together gently to make the soap lather. To properly lather up, you need to lather the backs of your hands, in-between your fingers, even underneath your nails. It would be best to maintain short nails because long or artificial nails tend to trap dirt and germs.
- Scrubbing your hands clean for a minimum of 20 seconds can seem boring because it is not common for most people, even though it is advisable at such a time. Preferably, you can play your favorite song. Some organizations inspiring people to wash their hands have come up with songs that encourage mostly children to wash their hands properly.
- After 20 seconds of scrubbing your hands thoroughly, rinse under clean, warm, or cold running water. Wet hands are vulnerable to getting new germs from other unclean surfaces, so it will be best to air dry or use a clean towel to dry your hands.
Caring For Your Hands after Extreme Washing
Thanks to the CDC and health organizations emphasizing maintaining clean hands, many people are upping their game on frequent hand washing.
However, after washing hands, many people tend to forget another important fact; caring for your hands. Overwashing hands can lead to dry and chapped skin, giving way to bacteria entering our bodies to cause more harm. Still, extreme washing can lead to pain, redness, and itching of the skin.
Preferably, do not leave the skin dry thus, apply a moisturizer after every wash. Most people prefer hand creams or ointments. It would help keep off moisturizers with fragrance as they can be irritating to cracked skin, causing pain; hence lotions are not ideal.
Also, the best moisturizer to use for all ages is petrolatum. It would also be best to apply a moisturizer at night and wear cotton gloves to increase absorption. Furthermore, you can consider having a humidifier in the room at night to raise the humidity levels, improving dry skin.
As the world’s experts in medicine continue to look for the cure for COVID-19, the public has a role to play; keep safe. However, keeping safe is rather personal everyone needs to maintain themselves and their loved ones secure always. If you wash your hands with water and soap or opt to use a sanitizer, ensure your hands are clean. At times, people touch dirt unknowingly, so have your guard up at all times. Besides, saving your life equals saving many more around you.