Do You Rely Too Much on Hand Sanitizer?

Germs are everywhere! Hand sanitizer is convenient, and an alcohol-based sanitizer is a decent on-the-go alternative to hand-washing.

But it isn't a replacement for washing your hands, according to the Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention.

Hand sanitizers don't get rid of all types of germs and may not be as effective if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

According to the CDC, There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water and using hand sanitizer. Soap and water work to remove all types of germs from hands, while sanitizer acts by killing certain germs on the skin. Although alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs in many situations, they should be used in the right situations. Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs like norovirusCryptosporidium, and Clostridioides difficile, as well as chemicals.

There's a proper sanitizing protocol, too. Apply at least a quarter-sized dollop of sanitizer and rub it on your hands for at least 20 seconds, CDC recommends. As with hand-washing, make sure to get the product between your fingers, under your nails and up your wrist.

Don't rub any of the excess sanitizer off onto your clothes if it doesn't dissolve right away. Either keep going up your arm or just keep rubbing your hands until they're dry.

Look for a hand sanitizer that's at least 60% alcohol (this will be listed as the active ingredient on the back of the bottle, typically in the form of "ethyl alcohol"). Brands that typically include this amount are Germ-X and Purell.

And another reason to wash your hands instead of relying too much on hand sanitizers is skin health. The high level of alcohol needed for the sanitizer to be effective may reduce the natural moisturizers of the skin, making your hands dry and the skin brittle, especially the soft areas around the nails. Extra dry skin can become painful, irritated and prone to sunburn and infections. Also, there is some evidence that serious health problems may be caused by hand sanitizers containing methanol, you can read the report here. Better to wash your hands with gentle soap and warm water!

Proper Hand-Washing Steps

1. Wet your hands with clean water (warm or cold) and squeeze some soap onto your palm.

2. Lather and rub your hands together, getting the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails. 

3. Scrub gently for at least 20 seconds.

4. Rinse your hands well under the water. 

5. Using a clean towel or paper, dry your hands thoroughly (germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands).

6. Before you open the tap, dispense a paper towel, so it's ready and waiting for you. Then, use that same paper towel to close the tap when your hands are dry.

But please remember!

Before leave your home, make sure you have with you an extra mask, tissue paper and hand sanitizer! You can never be too careful when it’s about your health.

In health & fitness

Itzel x

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