Nowadays, whenever we turn on television all soap commercials stress on washing hands repeatedly. Some companies have even launched their hand sanitizer range after the unfortunate COVID-19 situation. Let’s address the elephant in the room; what is more effective in battling Covid, washing hands or using a hand sanitizer. Read on and find out which is better.
Is washing hands and using sanitizer equally good?
You must have heard the most important way to avert COVID infection is by washing hands with soap; be it a bar soap or a liquid soap and using an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
According to research conducted by Centers for Disease Control (CDC), washing hands has found to be more effective and preferable to a sanitizer. Use of a soap and water to rinse your hands eliminates all types of germs and some viruses too. A sanitizer gel contains alcohol concentration of at least 60% and will be effective only when it is used properly.Studies have shown that people generally don’t put on enough sanitizer gel or wipe it before it properly dries.
It takes about 30 seconds or less for the gel to dry completely but in some cases it may take about 100 seconds. What people do is to wipe the gel off with a paper towel instead of waiting for it to dry.
Is hand washing really as effective as publicized?
Sounds too good to be true, that only washing hand can prevent Covid. Well, it is true and as easy as this. In 1846, a Hungarian physician found that the women who gave birth in the maternity ward had a higher rate of fevers and infection in comparison to those women who were looked after by mid wives. The reason was that the midwives weren’t involved in performing autopsies or other procedures and washed hand before performing childbirth.
According to some recent studies conducted among children, washing hands with soap reduce the rate of respiratory infection from 25-50%.
How to properly use a hand sanitizer?
If you are unsure of the proper use of and sanitizer you may look for the direction at the back of bottle. In general, just pour in some gel on one palm of your hand as per the amount recommended on the label and rub the product all over the surface of both hands. Now wait till your hands are dry. Don’t use a paper towel to dry hands; they will dry on their own.
What is the proper method to wash hands?
The recommended time to wash hands is 20 seconds for Covid. Below are the steps provided by CDC for washing hands properly.
- Wet your hands with clean and running water. Then turn off the tap and apply soap. You may use a bar soap or a liquid soap. When in public facility it is better to use liquid soap to prevent any contamination.
- Rub the hands together to create lather. Make sure you rub your hands thoroughly in all places like the back of hand, between the fingers and under the nails.
- Keep on scrubbing the hands for at least recommended 20 seconds. Counting to 20 is better just to be sure.
- Rinse off all the soap with clean, running water.
- After all the soap is washed off, dry your hands. Use a clean towel or air-dry them. If you leave your hands wet they are more susceptible to acquiring germs.
When to wash hands?
Don’t think that if you are at home you won’t require washing your hands. Even if you don’t go out you are likely to come in contact with groceries or mail so it is better to wash hands after intervals. Apart from this you should wash your hands with soap:
- Before eating food
- Before you start cooking. Also wash hands during and after you have finished cooking
- If there is a sick person at home, wash your hands before and after caring for them
- After you use bathroom
- Before and after you treat cut or a wound
- Before and after changing your child’s diaper
- After you blow nose, cough or sneeze
- After touching your pet or any other animal feed and waste
- After giving your pet its food and treats
- After taking out garbage
If you are in a place with no excess to water and soap, you should use a hand sanitizer to disinfect your hands. But when in excess of water and soap always wash hands. Washing hands with soap has proven to be more effective in preventing COVID-19.