Hand sanitizers are nothing new and have been introduced for quite a long time. But its importance has only grown manifolds with the Covid-19 pandemic creating havoc the world over. It is considered a hand cleansing agent as the name derives and is also referred to as hand rub, hand rub, and hand antiseptic. It is available in gel, foam, and liquid form and is applied on the palms to eliminate common harmful pathogens that cause diseases. It is generally used if you travel to a place where you do not have instant access to clean water and quality soap. You can also use it if repeated hand washing tends to compromise your natural skin barrier. This means resulting in the formation of fissures or scaling in the skin. However, its effectiveness is stated to be variable. It is generally employed to control infection in diverse settings, ranging from healthcare centres, hospitals, clinics to cruise ships, supermarkets, etc. You can get hold of the best quality hand sanitizer in India, like No Scars Hand Sanitizers.
Hand sanitizers are classified into two types depending on the users’ active ingredients, namely:
- Alcohol-free products: They are based on disinfectants like BAC (benzalkonium chloride) or antimicrobial agents like triclosan. Antimicrobial agent and disinfectant activities are persistent and instant. Most hand sanitizers contain emollients like glycerin to soothe the skin for fragrance and thickening agents.
- Alcohol-based products: They contain 60% to 95% alcohol, in n-propanol, isopropanol, or ethanol. Alcohol at such concentrations denatures proteins immediately, thereby neutralizing effectively certain microorganisms.
Effectiveness of hand sanitizers
Several factors tend to determine its overall effectiveness. It includes how the product is applied (like quantity used, the frequency used, duration of exposure, etc. It also considers if the person’s hands have some specific infectious agents, which may be susceptible to the product’s active ingredients. Alcohol-based sanitizers should be rubbed for about thirty seconds on hand surfaces and over fingers. Then it should be air-dried thoroughly, thus effectively reducing the growth of fungi, bacteria, and a few enveloped viruses like Influenza A viruses. Specific alcohol-free formulations are reported to offer similar effects. Some are ineffective in combating non-enveloped viruses like norovirus, bacterial spores, and encysted parasites like Giardia. Such hand sanitizers are reported not to sanitize or cleanse the skin thoroughly, especially if the hands are soiled visibly before its application.
Although hand sanitizers vary in effectiveness, they can control infectious disease transmission. This is more so in those places where handwashing is not followed correctly. For instance, in elementary schools, alcohol-free or alcohol-based sanitizers incorporated in the classroom reduce absenteeism resulting from infectious diseases. Similarly, at the workplace, alcohol-based sanitizers are used to reduce sick days and illness episodes. Healthcare clinics and hospitals are increasingly getting fast access to alcohol-based sanitizers, thus ensuring significant improvements noticed in hand hygiene.
Know the safety concerns
The United States Centre for Disease Control & Prevention and the WHO promote alcohol-free and alcohol-based sanitizers. However, alcohol-free product usage.