Rains are almost here, and germs are doing rounds with the infected air and dirty water. It is the season of maximum incidences of flu, cold and
intestinal infections. To be healthy, one needs to take many precautions. The first thing is to clean your hands properly before eating. A hand
sanitizer comes in handy to clean your hands on the go. But does it do more harm than good?
Hand sanitizers! You squirt a little, rub your hands and feel 100% germ free!
As you catch up the lunch in your office or grab a sandwich while travelling, we are all addicted to hand sanitizers. We keep a stock in bags, kitchens,
toilets, cars, desks and everywhere. To disinfect our hands quickly, we often reach out for a bottle of hand sanitizer. But how effective is hand sanitizer
compared to soap and water and is it really safe?
With the current word on the street about hand sanitizers, that’s the question troubling most of us. Here are a few things you should keep in mind before
squirting a little on your hands next time.
- Washing with soap and water beat sanitizers hands down: Handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way to prevent the spread of bacteria and
viruses. Even after using a hand sanitizer, your hands are actually dirty. Since, soap and water is not always available, so if you have to use a hand
sanitizer, always check that the alcohol concentration is over 60%. Yes, that’s the minimum, 59% is not sufficient.
Triclosan is some hand sanitizers can be harmful: Triclosan is an active ingredient in some non alcoholic hand sanitizers. It is an anti bacterial
and antifungal agent. It is rapidly absorbed from the skin to enter the blood stream. Studies have concluded that triclosans lead to
formation of super bugs or antibiotic resistant bacteria. It is a known risk factor of cancers, allergies and hormonal problems.
- That sweet fragrance could be toxic: Fragrant hand sanitizers are often toxic due to the presence of phthalates- a chemical compound.Pthalates are known to cause hormonal problems, allergies, respiratory distress, dermatitis, and infertility. If you have to use a hand sanitizer,
choose one that is unscented.
- Hand sanitizers are not safe for kids: Frequent use of hand sanitizers by children seriously affects their immunity. Keeping your baby away from all
pathogenic microbes will lead to your baby not developing resistance on her own. When your child is an adult, she will be at a higher risk of developing
illnesses. Also, if ingested accidentally, the 50-90% alcohol concentration of hand sanitizers can be potentially lethal for your child.
Don’t be fascinated by the fancy looks and smell of hand sanitizers. There is no better substitute to soap and water, use sanitizers only when you really
need it. Remember, choose one that contains over 60% alcohol and is unscented.