How does a hand sanitiser work? When to use it?

It's never been more important for us to listen to our government and follow safety guidelines. We need to shift into protection mode and do what we can to battle the invisible force that is COVID-19. Staying indoors and only going out when absolutely necessary is step one and step two is making sure that we do everything we can to flatten the curve by remaining as hygienic as we possibly can. 

What is hand sanitiser?

To get down to basics, hand sanitiser is a gel containing alcohol that is used to help prevent the transfer of viruses and bacteria. Ethanol acts as the primary agent in the gel for its efficiency in killing unwanted microbes.

Hand sanitiser should be used as a substitute for soap and water when these are unavailable or when you’re in a mobile environment. 

What's the best way to use hand sanitiser?

According to the World Health Organisation, to use your hand sanitiser most effectively, you need to place a generous amount into your palm, spread it across the entire surface of your hands and continue to rub them together until completely dry. It is important that you do not wipe excess off before it has dried.

Is it dangerous to overuse it?

There is some talk that excessive use of hand sanitiser could lead to antibacterial resistance, but there has been no evidence from any of the hospitals to indicate this to be true.

The main priority is for your hands to be germ-free, so using soap and water whilst at home is ideal. However, when this option is not available to you, the application of hand sanitiser is best practice.

The main contradictions when using hand sanitiser

There are many articles out there suggesting you can produce your own hand sanitiser, but this is not recommended. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that hand sanitiser needs to contain at least 60% alcohol (ours contains 75%) in order to be effective in reducing the spread of germs. Unfortunately, many homemade versions are not going to meet this criterion and, as a result, are mostly ineffective.

In the midst of a global crisis, it is crucial that we all do our part to ensure we are following the guidelines set out for us, which include washing our hands or using hand sanitiser as many times a day as is necessary. Let's battle this crisis together and keep our community safe.