Because of how easy it is to transfer the coronavirus from person to person, the CDC has focused extensively on activities designed to keep the hands clean—such as handwashing and the use of hand sanitizers. With all the options available, choosing the right hand sanitizer can be confusing. Let us help clear up some of the confusion for you!
Hand Sanitizers – Did You Know?
As a society, we’ve adopted the practice of using hand sanitizers on a routine basis. No matter where you are, there’s probably a bottle of hand sanitizer somewhere close and if not, just ask the person sitting next to you; they probably have some in their desk, purse, or laptop bag!
What most people don’t know however, is that not all hand sanitizers are created equal and they are definitely not a substitute for hand washing.
Here are a few other things you should know before buying and using hand sanitizer.
#1 How Do They Work?
How a hand sanitizer works is dependent upon what ingredients it’s made of. When shopping for hand sanitizer, you’ll be presented with two options: alcohol-based and non-alcohol based.
Alcohol-based sanitizers are the preferred type of sanitizers to use for killing most germs on the hands because of how well alcohol works for this purpose. When the alcohol in sanitizer comes into contact with a virus, it breaks the virus apart making it impossible for the virus to reproduce, subsequently killing the virus. This is why the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
Non-alcohol based sanitizers are compounded using a chemical called benzalkonium chloride as a substitute for the alcohol. Benzalkonium chloride is considered an antibacterial and antimicrobial agent and is found a large number of products where it often serves as a preservative and as well as helping to inhibit bacterial growth. Benzalkonium chloride will kill certain germs, but because the efficacy is much less than alcohol for killing germs, the CDC does not recommend using non-alcohol based sanitizers as a primary germ killing option.
People often choose a non-alcohol based product because of concerns about the harshness of alcohol on the skin however, benzalkonium chloride, the primary ingredient in non-alcohol based sanitizers can be very irritating to the skin and can cause dermatitis with prolonged use.
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