Hand sanitizers close to 60 percent alcohol are more effective and safe- Experts

Per-COVID ear had never let us think about the complexity of washing hands. But ever since our life experienced the gravity of COVID, we all have become more conscious than ever by equipping ourselves with sanitizers.

As the COVID made headlines into all our houses once again, The Quotes spoke to Dr. Pawan Kumar, Sr. Consultant and General Pediatrician at Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital to understand the quality of sanitizers and which one should be used over other.

According to Dr. Kumar, hand sanitizers are here to say, and killing germs using sanitizers is a smart move. “That way, when you touch your face, you transfer far fewer active germs to your eyes, nose or mouth. But with so many hand sanitizers on the market it becomes too tough to pick which one is best or more effective,” said Dr. Kumar.

Dr. Kumar claimed that ‘not all hand sanitizers are created equally, so it’s important to understand what makes it effective and what to look for when purchasing it.’

“Alcohol content and type hand sanitizers with 60% to 95% alcohol are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower percentage of alcohol. Some manufacturers make hand sanitizers that contain no alcohol, but these products probably aren’t the way to go; they may reduce the growth of germs but won’t necessarily kill germs outright,” said Dr. Pawan Kumar.

Meanwhile, Dr. further added that products with alcohol levels higher than 60 percent might work faster and may kill more types of germs than 60 percent alcohol hand sanitizers, but they become more irritating to the skin.

“If your hands get very irritated from hand sanitizer, consider using one with closer to 60% alcohol. There aren’t many studies that show a higher percentage of alcohol makes a hand sanitizer more effective. So, any hand sanitizer used within that range will be effective,” Dr. Kumar said.

As per Dr. Kumar, the gold standard is good hand washing – washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water.

“This is always preferred over using hand sanitizer. The two types of alcohol the FDA has approved for use in hand sanitizers are ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol) and isopropyl alcohol. An alternative active ingredient you might see is benzalkonium chloride, which is not an alcohol. It may be less effective against certain viruses and bacteria than alcohol,” concludes Dr. Kumar.

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