Nowadays, maintaining hand hygiene has become a very important routine for everyone. The traditional way to follow hand hygiene includes washing hands with soap and water. But an easier way of cleaning hands is by using a Hand sanitizer.
Hand sanitizers come in liquid, gel, and foam or spray form which when applied onto the skin help in cleaning or killing certain infectious agents present on the surface.
Hand sanitizers come in two types; alcohol-based and non-alcohol based. Every healthcare setup preferably uses alcohol-based hand sanitizers for hand cleaning purposes.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill different kinds of bacteria such as tuberculosis bacteria and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They also kill many kinds of viruses, like the flu virus, common cold virus, coronavirus, and HIV.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective up to 90% against the viruses. Isopropyl alcohol kills 99.9% of all non-spore forming bacteria in less than 30 seconds. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be rubbed into the hands for at least 30 seconds and then allowed to air dry.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are recommended only when soap and water are not available.
While using alcohol-based hand sanitizers one should be very careful as they are flammable.
Contents of a Hand Sanitizer
The alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain a combination of isopropyl alcohol, ethanol, or n-propanol with varieties ranging from 60% to 95% alcohol which can be more effective. They may also contain compounds such as glycerol to prevent drying of the skin, some fragrances, colourants, or antiseptics such as chlorhexidine.
Action Mechanism of a Hand Sanitizer
The alcohol-based hand sanitizers work on the phenomenon of friction. These hand sanitizers contain a high percentage of alcohol which has a very low boiling point, so when rubbed onto the palm and in between the fingers some warmness is generated due to friction. The warmness that is created aids in the evaporation of alcohol and other particles and takes the germ particles with them.
Benefits of using a Hand Sanitizer
- Provide better skin tolerance.
- Contain effective microbiological properties.
- Available in pocket-sized packaging hence, easy to carry.
- Protection against contagious diseases or infectious agents.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is it bad to use a hand sanitizer?
It is bad to use a hand sanitizer for a long time because; its overuse may actually lower the user’s resistance to diseases by killing good bacteria which help in protecting against bad bacteria.
2. Do hand sanitizers really work?
Yes, hand sanitizers do work. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may kill a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses, but it is not effective against all germs. Most commonly washing hands with soap and water is recommended but when soap and water are not available then sanitizers are the most effective alternative.
3. What per cent of alcohol in hand sanitizer is effective?
For a hand sanitizer to be effective it should contain at least 60% of isopropyl alcohol.
4. Can one use expired hand sanitizer?
Generally, expired hand sanitizers should not be used. Hand sanitizers have an expiry date typically about three years from its date of manufacture. Hand sanitizers expire as its alcohol content dissolves over a period of time where the alcohol content goes below 60% and becomes ineffective at killing germs.
Where to buy a Hand Sanitizer?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are available in Hyderabad at:
TrueCare Surgicals (Store 1)
Address: H.No 1-100, G2, Hitech City main road, Opposite Indian Oil Petrol Pump, Madhapur, Hyderabad, Telangana 500081.
TrueCare Surgicals (Store 2)
Address: Nizampet X road, Near Sri Holistic Hospital, Behind Vasireddy Swagruha Foods, Kukatpally, Hyderabad, Telangana 500072.