Hand washing with soap and water is still one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of harmful germs and bacteria. Even before the COVID19 pandemic, hand washing has been highly encouraged by medical and health professionals.
But in the absence of soap and water, using at least 60% alcohol-based sanitizer can reduce the risk of getting sick and spreading germs.
The use of hand sanitizer is easy, convenient, and almost always readily available. In some public places like bus and train stations, public restrooms, fast food chains, and others have strategically placed sanitizer dispensers for public use.
While alcohol-based sanitizer can kill microbes, it is not entirely effective on all germs and other harmful substances on your hands.
Since hand sanitizer does not kill all types of germs and remove harmful chemicals, when do we need to use hand sanitizer?
Knowing which method to use in any given circumstance will give you the best chance of preventing the spread of germs or bacteria. Most of all, it cuts down the chance of getting sick.
- When in hospitals – hospitals deploy hand sanitizers in sanitizer dispensers in all corners. Always take advantage of the free use of alcohol-based sanitizer when visiting a friend or a loved one in the hospital. Studies show that hand sanitizers work well in hospital settings; for hands come in contact with germs only not with grease.
- When in nursing homes – sanitize your hands with at least 60% to 95% alcohol-based sanitizers before and after visiting a friend or loved one in nursing homes. Nursing homes provide free access to hand sanitizers for hygienic purposes.
- When in public places – there are moments when soap and water are not available like when you are in the park or out driving, the use of alcohol-based sanitizer can reduce the microbes in the hands. Always use at least 60% to 95% alcohol-based sanitizer as it is more effective in killing germs.
- When you cannot wash with soap and water – always carry a hand sanitizer with you. So when public sanitizer dispensers with 60% to 95% alcohol-based sanitizer are not available, you always have enough to temporarily cleanse your hands.
- When you want added protection – you can rub a hand sanitizer all over your hands after washing with soap and water for extra protection.
Use hand sanitizers properly; refer to the manufacturer’s advice for the recommended amount. Then, rub alcohol based on your entire hands, gaps between your fingers, and on the back of your hands. Lastly, only stop rubbing when your skin is dry.
Remember not to use hand sanitizer when your hands are visibly greasy and dirty. Do not use hand sanitizer if you have touched harmful chemicals like heavy metals or pesticides.
Also, do not use hand sanitizer when you have been exposed to high infectious agents like if you are with a person who is sick with Clostridium difficile.
Do not use hand sanitizer because it is convenient. Although sanitizer dispensers are readily available in public places, hand washing is still the most effective way to combat the spread of diseases and germs.
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