Jul 20, 2020

Interesting facts about hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have exploded into popularity recently and rightfully so as these products play a key role in keeping us healthy. Especially due to the COVID-19 crisis, the alcohol-based hand sanitizer has become an essential part of our daily lives, using them regularly and prudently is one of the most effective and easiest ways to stay healthy.

Due to the essential and popular nature of this product, we would like to take this opportunity to make people attune about the various interesting facts related to alcohol-based hand sanitizer

1. The history and invention of hand sanitizer is debatable

Even though alcohol has been used as an antiseptic since the 1800s, the exact origin of hand sanitizer is debatable. One version of the story credits the German company Sterillium, some trace it back to a nursing student in California and some to the married couple Lippman, who developed a company called Gojo, in 1988, the company Gojo released Purell, a hand sanitizer, which became the world’s best-selling alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

2. Hand sanitizer whether in gel or liquid form are equally effective

Hand sanitizer come in gel and liquid form. However, scientifically speaking both are equally effective as long as we use thoroughly cover the surface of our hands, massage between our fingers and under our nails. Effectiveness would vary based on the alcohol content, WHO recommends hand sanitizers with more than 60% alcohol content.

3. Sanitizer is better than soap and water in certain situations

Even though many studies state that soap and water are a better alternative to using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, but sanitizers can be used much more frequently as compared to washing hand, so it’s a very portable choice.

4. Homemade hand sanitizers can be dangerous

Because of COVID-19, there has been an explosion of articles on the internet for homemade hand sanitizer, but it is a product that should be made by professionals with utmost care as even the slightest discrepancy in composition could lead to a detrimental effect on a person’s skin.

5. Hand sanitizers aren’t effective when hands are greasy or visibly dirty

Most studies show that hand sanitizer works very well in a hospital setting, but when outside, we should always ensure that our hands aren’t visibly greasy or dirty as then alcohol-based hand sanitizer would not work well, in that case using soap and water to first clear out the grease and then afterwards using the hand sanitizer would be the best way to stay clean.

6. Hand sanitizers are safe even for babies

Even though alcohol-based hand sanitizers have alcohol content more than 60%, it is still safe for babies even if their skin is delicate. The only thing we should ensure is that young children do not consume the hand sanitizer as it could lead to alcohol poisoning. Also, the consumers should be careful with the dosage mentioned on the hand sanitizer

7. Hand sanitizer can kill most of the bacteria and viruses

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers help in reducing many of the micro-organisms, it is very helpful in reducing the transmission of Swine Flu, SARS, Coronavirus. But still, there are some viruses in which hand sanitizers aren’t very effective such as the norovirus. The alcohol present in the hand sanitizer help in killing a broad spectrum of germs present on a person’s hand.

8. Hand sanitizer is flammable but safe when used correctly

There have been various reports on social media which stated a case where a woman applied hand sanitizer to her hand and went to the kitchen to cook, but the moment she turned on the gas stove her hands caught on fire, that case has reportedly been flagged as fake news. Although hand sanitizer is flammable, if applied properly on hands, it will evaporate and not burst into flames

9. Hand sanitizers are also used in surgical hand disinfection

In a hospital, before any surgery is initiated, a doctor must disinfect his hand by washing it with water and mild soap and using a hand sanitizer afterwards. Surgical hand disinfectant uses a much higher dose of the hand-rub and a longer rubbing time is also used.

10. The composition and the dosage of hand sanitizer matters

All hand sanitizers are not the same, every brand has different formulations and active ingredients which can have a big impact on the antimicrobial efficacy. The product also has to deliver good skin performance and not cause irritation. The thing important thing about hand sanitizer is its fragrance, it should be likeable to use.

Over the years, Hand Sanitizers have proved to be an effective measure against the transmission of infectious diseases especially in places where compliance with handwashing is weak. For example, when in elementary school, children were given alcohol-based hand sanitizers, it resulted in reduced absenteeism related to infectious diseases. Therefore, hand sanitizers when used prudently can have a significantly positive impact on hygiene.