In early 2020, at the outbreak of COVID-19, sales of hand sanitizer increased. By mid-March, the outbreak was labeled a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Health agencies the world over recommended we wash our hands after coming into contact with such public surfaces as handrails and door handles. But the question is, what is the best hand sanitizer?
Signs began to crop up on the doors of storefronts informing shoppers that they are out of stock of hand sanitizers, making these products something of a relatively rare commodity. Now there are plenty of places that you can buy hand sanitizer, but it’s important to buy an effective hand sanitizer from a reputable company. 72 Hours is one such company, but what about the right hand sanitizer itself? Let’s start by looking at how and why hand sanitizer works in this quick guide to finding the best hand sanitizer.
A Practical Alternative
Does this new-found popularity of hand sanitizers even make sense? While the majority of health officials maintain that when it comes to keeping your hands free of viruses, washing your hands is still your best bet, hand sanitizers are the right alternative when you don’t have access to a sink. Of course, they’re more effective when we follow the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): use a product containing at least 60% of alcohol, cover all parts of your hands, and rub them until dry.
Doctors saw the connection between health and handwashing even prior to the knowledge of germs. A connection between increased postpartum infections and poor hand hygiene was made in the 1840s. In 1966, a student by the name of Lupe Hernandez patented a hand sanitizer made of alcohol for hospitals. However, the first alcohol-based sanitizer wasn’t made available to the general public until 1988.
While some alcohol-free hand sanitizers are being sold, alcohol is the primary ingredient in the majority of products currently on sale in stores. That’s due to the fact that alcohol is a highly-effective disinfectant that’s safe to apply to your skin. The role of alcohol is to break up the outer coatings of viruses and bacteria.
Gel or Liquid?
In a clinic, a liquor hand sanitizer is transferred to the hands of doctors, patients, and visitors easily, thanks to dispensers mounted on hospital walls. Gel-based hand sanitizers are far easier to transport and easy to use while on the move because you’re less likely to spill gel from a bottle than you are liquid. Gels also ensure that the alcohol evaporates more slowly, which allows time for it to protect your hands and fight any microbes that might be present.
High concentrations of alcohol coming into direct contact with your skin, however, is less than pleasant. Your skin can quickly dry out, as it also disrupts your skin’s protective layer of oils. That’s the reason why sanitizers contain a moisturizer that counteracts the drying.
There’s a role for portable hand sanitizers during peak respiratory season, which is approximately November through April, as they make it that much easier to keep your hands clean. And as using hand sanitizers is far more convenient than washing our hands, it’s more likely that people will clean their hands, and it’s certainly better than not keeping them clean at all.
The CDC said that it’s important to use hand sanitizer correctly in order for it to be effective. That means you must apply the right amount (check the label). You also need to make sure that you don’t wash your hands or wipe them after applying.
The Right Kind of Sanitizers
As mentioned above, the main thing is to ensure that whichever hand sanitizer you use contains at least 60% of alcohol. Studies have proven that a sanitizer with a lower concentration of alcohol or that doesn’t contain any alcohol at all is less effective when it comes to killing germs than those with 60-95% alcohol. Furthermore, non-alcohol sanitizers may not be as effective for certain types of germs as others, and could result in some germs developing a resistance to the sanitizer.
Of course, there are other measures you could take. General cleanliness is an important factor, for instance. Make sure each of the rooms in your house are clean. The same goes for your phone. You don’t have to use antimicrobial products. The key is to make sure you clean regularly. Some people, however, are overly concerned and take things to the extreme. As long as you practice good hygiene, you’re taking the proper precautions.
We hope you found this quick guide to finding the best hand sanitizer helpful. Stay safe everybody.