Hand sanitizer has alcohol, like ethyl alcohol, as the active ingredient to provide the antiseptic effect. In addition, it may also contain a variety of fragrances, glycerine, and water. Sanitizers containing alcohol are ideal for preventing most of the bacterial and viral infections. But these may not be very effective against certain bacterial infections, like that of bacterium Clostridium difficile.
In general, hand sanitizers remove the outer oily layer in the skin, thus preventing the bacteria from coming to the surface of the skin. Studies show that cleaning with hand sanitizers is as effective as washing hands with water. But this is true only if the alcohol content of the sanitizer is more than 60%. Moreover, it remains true that hand sanitizers are effective in killing germs, unless the hands are very dirty and soiled.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are good alternatives for cleansing hands when water and soap are not available. The best technique for cleaning still remains washing with warm water and soap for 15 to 20 seconds. Alcohol-based gels and sanitizers, though not a superior option for washing hands, are helpful during emergency situations and when water is not there. While using a sanitizer, one should ensure to take enough quantity of the product to cover all areas of the hands, including those between the fingers and to rub it in till hands are totally dry.
Before you choose any product from the stand, remember these points:
- The best technique to reduce infections is to wash hands with water and soap
- Hand sanitizers are not effective in eliminating all types of infectious agents.