As much as face masks have become an integral part of our life as an efficient hygienic tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, hand sanitisers also play a crucial role in preventing coronavirus transmission.
Depending on the active ingredient used, hand sanitisers can be classified as one of two types: alcohol-based or alcohol-free. Among these, there has been a debate going around regarding the facts about the safety and quantity to keep in mind while using alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
World Health Organization has recently shared a few tips and facts to answer your queries and bust the myths surrounding alcohol-based sanitisers.
According to WHO, the amount of alcohol-based sanitisers we use matters and it recommends applying a palmful of sanitiser to cover all surfaces of the hands. One has to rub their hands together using the right technique until they are dry and the entire procedure should last 20-30 seconds.
Regarding the safety of alcohol-based sanitisers, WHO assures that the alcohols in sanitisers have not been shown to create any relevant health issues.
"Only a small amount of alcohol is absorbed into the skin; most products also contain an emollient (that has a soothing effect on the skin) to reduce skin dryness. Accidental swallowing and intoxication have been described in rare cases," WHO mentioned on its official Instagram handle.
While there has been a debate arguing that Muslims should not use these sanitisers as Islam prohibits alcohol to Muslims, WHO has assured that any manufactured substance developed to alleviate illness or contribute to better health is permitted by the Quran, the holy book of Muslims.
Experts also recommend using soap and water to wash your hands, it is safe to use hand sanitisers frequently. An alcohol-based sanitiser does not create antibiotic resistance, says WHO. "Unlike other antiseptics and antibiotics, pathogens (harmful germs) do not seem to develop resistance to alcohol-based sanitisers."
According to WHO, touching a communal bottle of alcohol-based sanitiser will not infect a person. "Once you have sanitised your hands, you have disinfected them from any germs that may have been on the bottle. If everyone uses sanitiser in a public place…the risk of germs on communal items will be lower and will keep everyone safe," says WHO.
WHO also assured that it is safer to clean hands regularly and not wear gloves.
"Wearing gloves could risk the transfer of germs from one surface to another. You may also end up contaminating your hands while removing them. If you are wearing gloves, make sure to sanitise your hands after their removal. "Wearing gloves does not replace cleaning hands. Health workers wear gloves only for specific tasks," mentions WHO.
WHO has listed alcohol-based hand rubs as essential medicine as cleaning hands is one of the key measures to prevent infectious diseases.