Considering that people are now resorting to making it at home, we think it's safe to say that sanitizers are officially a commodity in high demand and dwindling supply. In the past few days, the importance of carrying one with you, and sanitising your hands every couple of hours has been reiterated by everybody, including media channels, official bodies, medical specialists as well as general well-wishers. So, obviously, sanitizers = safe against COVID19, right?
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Before you start hunting for sanitizers (or start making your own!), we suggest you go through these 4 important facts:
Fact #1 Washing Hands > Sanitising Hands
Basically, when it comes to disinfecting your hands to prevent transmission, washing your hands with soap or hand-washes and water is always, always your best bet. Ideally, you should resort to using a sanitizer only when you're in a situation with no access to clean water or soap/hand-wash.
Fact #2 Choose Your Sanitizer Wisely
The American Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that you only use sanitizers with a minimum of 60% alcohol content. So go for one with an alcohol content anywhere between 60 to 95%. Other ingredients like moisturisers or scents don't make a difference so long as the alcohol meets the minimum criteria, and alcohol-free sanitizers or ones with a substitute, are unfortunately useless in the prevention of transmission. It is also possible that your regular hand sanitizer brand might be out of stock, so you need to pick an alternative brand as well.
Fact #3 There Are Some Easy Substitutes To Hand Sanitizers
Like liquor with more than 60% alcohol content, OTC Hydrogen Peroxide (significantly lesser concentration than Hydrogen Peroxide for industrial use), rubbing alcohol and even vinegar to some extent. You can look up DIY hand sanitizer tutorials online.
Fact #4 Careful Use Is More Important That Copious Use
Before applying a hand sanitizer, make sure your hands aren't too greasy or visibly dirty. Based on the alcohol content, take an adequate amount in your hand, coat both your hands entirely, and let them dry. The effectiveness of the entire process goes for a toss if you wipe the sanitizer coat on your pants before it dries naturally. Also, be careful about the surfaces that come into contact with the nozzle of your sanitizer.
You can't replace washing your hands with a bottle of hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers will help you fight transmission, as long as you also follow other strategies equally, if not more sincerely, including social distancing, periodic washing and avoiding touching your face.