Hand washing precautions:
Normal Soap or antibacterial soap or……… sanitizer???
Skin is the largest and first protective barrier of the human body. It has a lot of protective function including thermal regulation. So recently the most concerning topic the COVID-19 became a global emergency and to keep the hand clean is the most important topics related to preventing the viral infection.
So, people are all trying to keep their hand clean by using a hand sanitizer and rushing to departmental store and everywhere to get it. But sanitizer is not entirely effective as a soap in killing the virus. Here some point why you should use soap (a normal bar soap / hand wash rather than an antibacterial soap or hand sanitizer.
1. The new corona virus has a lipid outer coating outside the protein shell. Soap contains fat-like compounds called amphiphiles, which are similar to the lipids found in the virus membrane.
When soap comes into contact with these fatty substances, it binds with them and causes them to disconnect from the virus. It also forces the virus to disengage from the skin.
2. The skin also harbours some good bacteria like other part of body named normal flora which have some beneficial effects for host like protection and nutrition supplementation. But if we destroyed them by antibacterial soap, they will be replaced by harmful bacteria may lead to skin infection and inflammation. So, both according to FDA and CDC directed to use normal bar soap and hand wash and warns about the harmful effect of antibacterial soap (like savlon, detol, lifebouy).
3. As with other viral respiratory infections – like the common cold and flu – the novel corona virus (called SARS-CoV-2) is mainly spread when virus-laden droplets from a person’s mouth or nose are transferred to other people. However, a recent study has suggested that it can also spread through faces.
Aside from inhaling droplets, you can also get respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 by touching anything contaminated with the virus and then touching your face, in particular your mouth or nose. We touch our faces a lot without even realizing it.
Washing with warm water and soap remains the gold standard for hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Washing with warm water (not cold water) and soap removes oils from our hands that can harbour microbes.
4. Hand sanitizers containing 60% alcohol can’t remove all types of germs. Studies have found that hand washing is more effective than hand sanitizers at removing norovirus, Cryptosporidium (a parasite that can cause diarrhea), and Clostridium difficile (bacteria which cause bowel problems and diarrhea).
With shortages leading some people to try and make their own hand sanitizers, it’s also important to know these might not be as effective as commercially available products.
But hand sanitizer can also protect against disease-causing microbes, especially in situations when soap and water aren’t available. They’re also proven to be effective in reducing the number and type of microbes. But they act over on protein coating but not on the first layer of lipid, less effective on killing the virus COVID-19.
5.Hand sanitizer with less than 60% alcohol were also found to be less effective at killing bacteria and fungi and may only reduce the growth of germs rather than killing them outright.
Washing hands for 20 seconds with warm water works best.
If hands are visibly dirty, hand washing with soap and water is more effective than using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Research has found that the detergent effect of soap and the friction of washing work together to reduce the number of microbes on our hands, as well as the dirt and organic materials.
6. Sneezing or coughing into your hands also requires more than just a pump of hand sanitizer to disinfect them. This is because if your hands are contaminated with mucous, the hand sanitizer might not work as well because mucous acts to protect microbes.
As a result, the best and most consistent way of preventing the spread of the corona virus – and reducing your risk of contracting it – remains washing your hands with soap and water as a first choice, and avoiding touching your face as much as possible.
But alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) are a practical alternative when soap and water aren’t available. If you are using hand sanitizer then, just like when washing with soap and water, you need to make sure you cover your hands (including between your knuckles, wrists, palms, back of your hand and your fingernails) fully, rubbing it in for at least 20 seconds
7. Some medical experts have started to warn that the overuse of alcohol-based hand sanitizer to protect against the corona virus could inversely raise the risk of infection via skin disorders. As. Many dermatologists now dealing with increasing number of patients with allergic skin disorder and secondary bacterial infection due to too frequently washing hand with alcohol-based sanitizer and antibacterial soap.
Washing one’s hands too many times can also have an adverse effect by abrading the skin, which normally acts as a barrier to keep moisture in and harmful agents out.
Excessive hand-washing and overuse of alcohol-based sanitizer can weaken skin and remove benign bacteria that fend off norovirus and other pathogens. So “Hand sanitizer may kill viruses and certain bacteria, but it does not ‘clean’ your hands like soap and water do,”. “Sanitizer doesn’t remove actual dirt and debris. Soap kills germs, binds them, and helps physically remove them, with the water, off your skin and down the drain.”
So, using soap and water to wash hand is best when available rather using a hand sanitizer. And if you are outside home trying to keep a personal soap to wash hand or hand wash with dispenser…it will work best to protect you from virus.
Always wash your hands before:
- Preparing food or eating
- Treating wounds or caring for a sick person or child
- Inserting or removing contact lenses
Always wash your hands after:
- Preparing food
- After eating.
- Using the toilet, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- Touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
- Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- Treating wounds or caring for a sick person
- Handling garbage
- Handling pet food or pet treats
Also, wash your hands when they are visibly dirty.
How to wash your hands
It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Over-the-counter antibacterial soaps are no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap.
Follow these steps:
Wet your hands with clean, running water — warm water is best if available.
Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air-dry them.
How to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don’t require water, are just an option when soap and water aren’t available. If you use a hand sanitizer, make sure the product contains at least 60% alcohol. Follow these steps:
- Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand. Check the label to find out the appropriate amount.
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
- Kids need clean hands, too
Help children stay healthy by encouraging them to wash their hands frequently. Wash your hands with your child to show him or her how it’s done.
Skin experts recommends that people apply a thick, emollient moisturizer in ointment form, such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment, rather than rely on creams and lotions, which can have alcohol and cause further drying. They also recommend selecting a soap or sanitizer with an emollient and avoiding perfumes and dyes, as they can further irritate skin. Soaps and sanitizers with moisturizers can be just as effective,
“Lotion doesn’t need to be a constant thing to be effective,” said Preeti Malani, an infectious-disease doctor and chief health officer at the University of Michigan. And it doesn’t need to be expensive: Drugstore brands, such as Vaseline and Aquaphor, can work well. Moisturizing lotions work by locking in existing moisture, so the ideal time to apply them is after washing, when the skin is hydrated. “At bedtime, put on some good-quality, inexpensive, effective moisturizer,” she said. “If your skin is becoming raw and dry, you might be washing your hands too much.” Manal Mohammed, Lecturer, Medical Microbiology, University of Westminster.