Ever since the COVID-19 crisis gripped the entire globe, one thing that is being constantly reminded to us is to keep our hands clean. Sanitiser or soap-water, use whatever is available but remember to keep your hands germ-free. Cleaning hands with soap or rubbing it with alcohol-based sanitiser is the most effective way to keep novel coronavirus at bay. The COVID-19, a highly contagious disease caused by the novel coronavirus, was first detected in China's Wuhan in December last year.
Why is washing hands important?
According to health experts, the virus remains on different surfaces for long hours that are regularly touched with hands. Hence, frequent cleaning of hands is suggested. Well, washing hands with water reduces the microbes but not remove it completely, therefore soap is considered effective in this case. If soap and water aren't available, then hand sanitiser is your best partner.
Soap or sanitiser: Which is better?
Washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water helps in breaking the interaction between the virus and the skin surface. But what kind of soap you should use? Is anti-bacterial soap more effective than others? Since COVID-19 is a virus, using antibacterial soap won't give you an advantage over other varieties available in the market.
But, we know you can't carry water and soap everywhere, that's why there is hand sanitiser. A product with 60 percent alcohol or more is effective. However, it is important to use the gel in the recommended amount. Applying it over both the palms, at the backs of hands and in between the fingers is important. Once the product on your hand dries up, it is effective.
Currently, a lot of alcohol-free hand sanitisers are available in the market. Never, never, never buy them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Although alcohol-based hand sanitizers can inactivate many types of microbes very effectively when used correctly, people may not use a large enough volume of the sanitizers".
The CDC recommends soap and water because it effectively neutralises certain types of germs, including cryptosporidium, norovirus, and clostridium difficile, than hand sanitizer. Also, if your hands are soiled or greasy, sanitizer is less effective.