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Hand Sanitizer Facts

The hand sanitizer facts may include the effectiveness of the sanitizer, ingredients, how it can be used and also about some of its negative effects, as seen in some cases. There are many popular brands, which are used as a disinfectant against a number of pathogen-borne infections...
WellnessKeen Staff
Sanitization is an effective way of keeping germs and other harmful pathogens from affecting the body and causing infections or diseases. There are a number means through which we can sterilize and deter the spread of disease-causing germs. One such popular method is the use of hand sanitizers to destroy the infestation of these harmful pathogens. Owing to the recent outbreak of swine flu, hand sanitizers have gained quite a wide acclaim across the globe. Since most of the sanitizers are alcohol based, they are quite effective in clearing out the germs and keeping a number of infectious diseases away from the body. However, most of the companies vouch that nothing can replace soap and water. Sanitizers are usually used during the unavailability of soap and water, as it is quite handy and can be carried around.
Facts about Hand Sanitizers
The air around us is filled with microbes, both healthy and harmful. The harmful microbes may enter the body, through the mouth, nose and eyes, causing a number of infections. To avoid this proper hand washing techniques and hygienic practices should be adopted. Recently many doctors have encouraged the use of hand sanitizers as a sure shot method to destroy the harmful microbes. Purell Hand Sanitizer is a product manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, which is an alcohol based sanitizer. It has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration and is available in almost all the health stores.
  • There are a number of antibacterial sanitizers that are available in the market. This alcohol based sanitizer destroys the transient germs, which are carriers of harmful diseases. Though some of the resident germs, that live in the skin pores and are harmless, are also destroyed, they are replenished.
  • This product comes in the form of foams, gels, hand wipes and liquids etc. Some popular brands are Germ-X, Method, Purell and Sani Hands. The active ingredients in these sanitizers have hardly any variation. These deter the spread and transfer of germs from the mouth, nose and eyes.
  • The composition of hand sanitizers is mainly alcohol and water. Ethyl alcohol, also known as ethanol, is one of the active ingredients. Alcohol effectively destroys the microorganisms that may be living on the skin, especially under the fingernails, and webs between the fingers. They also include skin conditioners that leave the skin moist and supple, instead of drying it out.
  • The effectiveness, due to the presence of alcohol, can be seen in the way it works against the microbes. Rubbing a few drops of the sanitizer on the hand thoroughly for about 30 seconds is known to eliminate bacteria and viruses on the skin's surface. It should not be washed off, but should dry on its own. Many hand sanitizer companies claim that their product can destroy up to 99.99 percent of bacterial infestation.
  • According to a recent survey, it has been noted that individuals who regularly use hand sanitizers have reduced chances of contracting illnesses. However, you must also be aware of the importance of hand washing.
Negative Effects
Even though hand sanitizers function in effectively destroying the germs, there are a few side effects on the health. You must be aware of dangers of this product, in case it is accidentally ingested or used on cuts and burns
  • Individuals with sensitive skin may experience irritation due to the presence of alcohol in the sanitizers. It can also cause skin rashes, itching and burning sensation in the hands.
  • Sanitizers are ineffective when used on hands that are very dirty. Dirt accumulated under fingernails also render the product useless. So it is always better to use sanitizer after cleaning hands thoroughly.
  • Accidental ingestion can lead to poisoning, since it contains harmful ingredients. Hence it is always advisable to keep hand sanitizers and other chemicals in unreachable places if there are small children in the house.
  • Alcohol is a highly flammable substance and can quickly catch fire if it comes in contact with any heated objects. Hence it is essential to store it in a safe place.
Proper hygiene, along with the use of antibacterial products will be productive in keeping a number of infections and diseases at bay. Apart from this a healthy, well-balanced diet, exercise regimen and timely vaccination will keep you in good health.