If you’re like me, hand sanitizer has become a way of life. I ALWAYS have a bottle with me.
Along with wearing a mask, keeping your hands clean and germ-free is an important step in minimizing the spread of infections.
Whenever I get back into my car the first thing I do before touching anything else is reach for the hand sanitizer.
I think we can all agree there is so much misinformation right now, but the one thing EVERYONE agrees on is using hand sanitizer in between hand washing or when hand washing isn’t an option.
Today we’re going to delve into Hand Sanitizer. When you should use it, how to use it properly and why you shouldn’t make it at home.
I learned quite a bit while researching this like I wasn’t using my hand sanitizer correctly. I hope you find this informative and it helps.
1. Hand Sanitizer Kills Germs On Your Hands But Doesn’t Clean Them…
While hand sanitizer is essential to staying healthy it doesn’t clean your hands. It is a germ killer.
Soap and water are still should be your number one method to actually cleaning any dirt and grime off your hands. But, but believe it or not, soap and water do not “kill” germs, they simply remove them.
So this boils down to washing your hands correctly. If you don’t then you’re not removing all the germs and may have a false sense of safety.
By now you probably know the 20 second or Happy Birthday song methods. In case you don’t these mean you should wash and scrub your hands for 20 seconds or a full verse of the Happy Birthday song.
It is important that you wash above your wrists too.
Hand sanitizers also don’t work as well if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy, and they may not remove harmful chemicals such as pesticides and heavy metals like lead.
2. In Certain Situations Hand Sanitizer Is Better To Use…
As we mentioned washing your hands (when done properly) gets rid of grime and dirt and washing away germs. Hand sanitizer is important to have as a backup to soap and water. “The time to use hand sanitizer is when you can’t get to a sink and some clean water and a clean towel,” says Elaine Larson, professor emerita of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and a scholar in residence at New York Academy of Medicine.
However, the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer as a first choice for situations such as before and after visiting a friend or loved one in a hospital or nursing home. Make sure to use it when you are around anyone with a weakened immune system too.
Rubbing some hand sanitizer on not only reduces the likelihood you’ll introduce a dangerous bug or leave with one!
Having a bottle of Hand Sanitizer with you at all times makes sure you are prepared for any germ-ridden situation that arises. It is both easy AND ultra effective.
3. Are All Sanitizers Created Equal? NO!
There are a number of sanitizers that have cropped up on the market since the pandemic. The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Anything less than that may not work as well “for many types of germs,” and could “merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright,” the CDC says.
Also lately there has been a recall of sanitizers made from Mexico because they were found to contain methanol (wood alcohol), a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin.
In addition when searching the shelves or online, you may come across hand sanitizers that contain benzalkonium chloride instead of alcohol. These products, however, are NOT recommended by the CDC, since “available evidence indicates benzalkonium chloride has less reliable activity against certain bacteria and viruses” compared to alcohol-based sanitizers.
Our suggestions? For something this important, always buy Hand Sanitizer that:
– Exceeds 60% Alcohol. Remember this is a CDC recommendation.
– Is Made in the USA. More stringent rules for making sanitizer in the USA ensure you’re getting an effective product.
– FDA Approved. An extra layer to know that the facility has gone thru certification.
4. Most Homemade Hand Sanitizers Are Ineffective…
Hand Sanitizer shortages are still happening especially in certain areas of the country where infections are spiking up.
Faced with this dilemma many people are looking up recipes for homemade hand sanitizer on the internet. There are endless recipes for sure, but the FDA, which regulates hand sanitizers, says it’s best to leave the production of germ-killing gels to the professionals.
“If made incorrectly, hand sanitizer can be ineffective, and there have been reports of skin burns from homemade hand sanitizer,” the agency says.
In addition many believe that adding rubbing alcohol to a bottle of non-alcohol hand sanitizer will make the sanitizer more powerful. The FDA says it “is unlikely to result in an effective product.”
5. Sanitizing Technique Matters…
Just like hand washing, hand sanitizer works best when you do it correctly. Think the 20 second rule.
In short follow these guidelines when using hand sanitizer:
1. Apply the recommended amount to the palm of your hand. Make sure you use enough to sanitize your entire hands and above the wrists.
2. Rub your hands together and all over paying special attention to the fingertips. We say this because you use your fingers the most and this is probably where germs are most prevalent.
3. Continue rubbing the hand sanitizer into your hands until your skin is completely dry — it should take about 20 seconds.
It is important to know that taking a little extra time allows the alcohol to work and kill the virus and most bacteria.
Remember hand washing is still important and should be practiced frequently. Think of hand sanitizer as an additional layer of protection. Also it is portable and highly effective.
So next time you leave the house, make sure you have a bottle of hand sanitizer with you!
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