With the COVID-19 spreading in huge numbers, the fear of contracting the virus and getting sick has also risen. It's true, though, that fear and panic will not keep you safe; in fact, it puts you and others at risk too. CDC and WHO at this troubling time, strongly suggest social distancing, staying at home and avoiding unnecessary travelling, avoiding gatherings and practicing hygiene.
When we talk about hygiene, it doesn't necessarily comprise complex strategies involving strong sanitizers and whatnot, but something as simple as regular washing of hands can do the trick. CDC suggests in case soap and water are not readily available, you need to use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Ever since the declaration, panic buying caused the hoarding of hand sanitizers, leaving shelves of pharmacies and supermarkets empty. A large population of the world is now looking for alternatives to hand sanitizers.
What Is The Purpose Of Hand Sanitizers?
Hand sanitizers are not required for regular use. As mentioned before, they should only be used in case you do not have access to water and soap.
Scientists recommend washing hands and using hand sanitizers to limit the spread of the virus. COVID-19 spreads through contaminated respiratory droplets. They come out as you speak, sneeze or cough. If you touch a surface that has been contaminated by these droplets, the virus automatically transfers to your hands.
This includes shaking hands, exchanging banknotes, door handles and elevator buttons. If you do not wash hands, and you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, the virus gets access to your respiratory system and infects you.
That's why practising hand hygiene is recommended, and the use of hand sanitizers is appreciated.
How Do Hand Sanitizers Work?
Sanitizers can kill an array of bacteria and viruses. Coronavirus falls under the category of foreign particles that a hand sanitizer can kill. The winning element of a hand sanitizer is isopropyl alcohol. Coronavirus has a lipid membrane that protects its genetic material. Isopropyl alcohol unfolds and inactivates the virus through denaturation, making your hand virus-free.
While choosing your hand sanitizer, ensure that it has the correct concentration of alcohol in it. CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is required. It is also necessary that you read the instructions of the label carefully to use it for your best protection.
With the current shortage of hand-sanitizers and rising numbers of coronavirus cases, sanitizers have become a luxurious commodity. So in this time of need, many have come forward to provide alternatives or DIY methods for sanitizers.
DIY Homemade Hand Sanitizers
A popular method of making hand sanitizers includes:
1. 2/3 cups isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) 99.9%
2. 1/3 cups aloe vera gel
3. A spray bottle
Take ⅓ aloe vera gel and ⅔ rubbing alcohol in the bowl and blend them well. Transfer the blend in a hand wash bottle or spray bottle. Shake before use.
Your homemade hand sanitizer is ready to serve you. You can mask the scent of the alcohol using a few drops of lavender or any other natural oil.
Aloe vera gel in this homemade sanitizer gel will keep your hands from drying out. This is especially useful as cracks provide an easy entry point to foreign particles.
Remember, though; you cannot use mixtures with alcohol concentration less than 60% as they will not be effective in denaturing the virus.
Making hand sanitizers with lesser strength of alcohol will end up diluting them even further, making them almost useless to serve their purpose. The DIY recipe using 99.9% rubbing alcohol will be just right as after adding aloe vera etc, it will result in the creation of a hand sanitizer with 66% alcohol concentration.
If you cannot find surgical spirits or alcohol higher than 60% concentration, worry not, put it in a spray bottle and spray it on your hands when required.
Also, using vodka instead of alcohol will not do the trick either. So before you fall prey to mindless misconceptions, always do some research for your and your family's best interest.
Remember that researchers and doctors both have prioritized handwashing over the hand sanitizers. Soap and water do a better job of keeping microbes off your hand. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap every hour.
The University of Toronto. Do hand sanitizers work?
Rush. Does Hand Sanitizer Work?
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Setting