The new coronavirus is taking a toll on everything. Most parts of the world are in lockdown with limited access to everything from basic groceries to medicines. It is also one of the high times that everyone must be extra cautious to protect ourselves and others from catching the infection.
Although it is one of the deadliest pandemics, taking necessary precautions could go a long way in preventing the spread of the disease. And basic measures like hand hygiene is highly necessary as it is one of the most common ways one could transmit the disease.
How to keep your hands hygienic?
You must make sure to wash or sanitize your hand before and after touching anything outside of your home or even after cleaning or disinfecting your home. Using sanitizer after shaking hands or traveling in public transport is highly recommended.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended washing hands with hand wash or soap and water for at least 20 seconds (1).
Since it is not possible to wash your hands every time with hand wash or soap, the next best option is to use sanitizer, which is equally beneficial. Sanitizers with 60% to 90% of alcohol are known to be highly effective. Doctors or other medical staff often carry sanitizers because they can kill or remove any pathogens that could get on their hands.
Best Way to Make Hand Sanitizer at Home:
The panic has driven people around to stack on sanitizers more than they need. It has made it difficult for others to get a hand on sanitizers. With a few basic ingredients, you can make the most potent hand sanitizer at home. Below listed are the ingredients and methods to make it:
- 99% Isopropyl alcohol – ⅔ cups
- Aloe vera gel – ⅓ cup
- Essential oils – 8 to 10 drops
- Basic funnel – to pour sanitizer into the bottle
- Plastic bottles – to store sanitizer
- Nitrile gloves – to protect your hands
Note: Isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable. Direct contact with it can burn your skin, hence make sure to put on nitrile gloves before using it. Do not keep any flammable substances or fire hazards nearby while making the sanitizer.
- Take isopropyl alcohol and pour it into a bowl.
- Add aloe vera gel to the bowl. (Maintain a ratio of minimum 2:1 ratio of isopropyl alcohol to aloe vera gel.)
- Add essential oils for fragrance. Test the essential oils on your skin by rubbing a small patch on your hands to make sure that you are not allergic to it.
- Stir the ingredients with a spoon until a proper liquid gel-like substance is formed.
Your hand sanitizer is now ready to use. You can pour it in a bottle and use it.
(Do not use sanitizer when cooking as it can burn your skin.)
How Often Should I Use Sanitizer?
If you are at home, you can use a hand wash. If you are outside, using hand wash is more feasible. You should sanitize your hands after:
- Coughing, sneezing, or blowing nose
- Before and after eating
- Touching surfaces in public places
- Touching anything outside of your home or backyards
- After paying bills in stores or to a delivery person
- After shaking hands (both healthy or sick people)
- After using toilets
- After cleaning your desk (at home or the office)
- Before and after changing diapers
The best way to apply a sanitizer is to pour some in your hands and rub it all over the front and backside until your hands are dry.
Why Do You Use Alcohol in Hand Sanitizers?
Alcohol is a very potent substance that can kill various types of microbes, including viruses. It does so by unfolding and deactivating the proteins of those microbes which cripple and kill them.
Do Alcohol-Based Sanitizers Kill Coronaviruses?
Yes. Sanitizers with 60% or higher concentrations of alcohol are effective in killing viruses that have an outer wrapped surface called the envelope, similar to coronavirus. Hence, it is useful for killing coronavirus (2).
Is 100% Alcohol Sanitizer More Effective?
No, it doesn’t. Pure alcohol will evaporate too quickly and may fail to kill viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens. Using 100%, alcohol-based sanitizer can irritate or even burn the skin. Hence, adding soothing aloe vera gels or other emollients which also softens moisturizes the skin.
The coronavirus is dangerous, and preventive measures are always the best option. Alongside, keeping your hands clean, you should also follow other basic hygienic protocols. Because hand sanitizers only kill viruses on your hands. Respiratory droplets from the air can infect you.
Hence, wearing a mask, maintaining a distance of at least 1 m, avoiding physical touch, and staying home is highly advised. In this time of the pandemic, the best we all could do is to follow the precautionary measures, which helps the entire world in recovering from this nightmare in no time.
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