For over 100 years, ethel alcohol in a 60% to 90% concentration has been promoted as a hand sanitizer in some form. One of the most widely used agents for sterilization of wounds and hospital areas, and the most cost effective over time, has been the use of alcohol as a cleansing agent. How this fact applies to today’s use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer, as a well known and common way to help keep people healthy and reduce the risk of contagious disease transmission either from other persons, objects, or foods, has evolved into a highly recognized area of preventative measures that every person can adopt.
Prevent the Swine Flu With Hand Sanitizers
Though the use of hand sanitizers has long been recognized as a way to prevent bacteria, viruses, and other microbes from transmitting diseases, the advent of the Swine flu further intensified the notice of this product. Diseases are transmitted throughout the population when a person comes in contact with infectious agents carried by other humans, through the air, or direct contact via touching or handling of objects or surfaces harboring the harmful microbes. Humans then become infected by touching their eyes, nose, or mouth, which allows the harmful microorganisms to enter their blood stream. Infection can also take place by means of disease causing elements being introduced via wounds or other openings, such as an IV site, which allow access into the bloodstream.
Most people know that they should cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing. However, if they don’t wash their hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer before interacting with other people, objects, or foods, then they are likely to pass on any bacteria, virus, or disease that they have. Such illness may not be apparent at the time due to various incubation periods required for most diseases to become apparent. Just as washing your hands thoroughly can protect against disease causing agents, so can the use of hand sanitizers in our daily lives.
This applies to public bathrooms where germs on toilet handles and sinks as well as the doors used to leave the bathroom lurk ready to pounce. Though you may wash your hands after using a public restroom, if you then touch a faucet or the handle of the exit door from the bathroom, you risk contracting an infection or disease. Protect yourself by using hand sanitizer if it is provided in the bathroom, or carry your own with you to use after you wash and dry your hands and open the bathroom door. Even better, use a paper towel to open the door and then sanitize your hands when you leave.
Doorknobs, ATMs, Toilets and Telephones are Dirty – Use Hand Sanitizers
Though most people recognize that colds, flu, and other more serious diseases are transmitted by coming in direct contact with an infected person, there are many other ways for harmful and dangerous disease causing microbes to enter you body. Obviously, if you can see the dirt, or waste products such as human or pet feces on your hands, you know to wash rigorously, dry, and then use a hand sanitizer. However, what about all of the germs that you can’t see? These are found just by coming in contact with human or pet feces, uncooked meats and poultry, trash, waste products, and many other seemingly innocuous items. Some of the most germ infested things that we touch on a regular basis are telephone receivers, computer keyboards, handles on grocery carts, and numerous other everyday items that we never imagine hold and grow dangerous germs which continue to multiply.
A simple way to protect yourself and your family is to use hand sanitizers regularly and always before eating a meal or preparing food. Not only for your hands, sanitizers should also be used to wipe down germ laden surfaces in your home such as doorknobs, toilet flush handles, telephone receivers, faucets in both the bathroom and kitchen, and any other surface that is used by people continuously that can serve as an incubation area and growth place for germs. Killing disease producing germs on your hands by the regular use of hand sanitizer will not decrease the effect of any illness, but can prevent you from getting sick in the first place. Be aware of the common things in your home, office, or child’s play areas, as well as public areas, that can transmit harmful bacteria or other disease producing organisms.
The human skin contains both good germs and microorganisms as well as bad germs or pathogens. It is the bad or disease producing germs that we want to get rid of by the use of hand sanitizers. Unlike the risks created by the overuse of antibiotics, which affect us internally and may produce the so called “super bugs” which can create a strain of disease that cannot be cured by antibiotics, there is not much risk of that by using or overusing of hand sanitizers. The risks that must be considered with the consistent use of hand sanitizers mostly involve children under the age of six, who, if they put their hands in their mouth after using a hand sanitizer, will be ingesting a high content per body ratio of alcohol, and thus could possibly be ingesting toxic levels of alcohol. Proper supervision of all young children with the use of hand sanitizers is imperative. Hand sanitizers are meant to be rubbed thoroughly over the hands, wrists, fingers and nails until dry and absorbed. No towel drying is necessary or advised.
Another legitimate critique of overuse of hand sanitizers is that it can cause the hands to dry out and possibly crack, thus providing an entry for germs and other pathogens into the bloodstream. This can be avoided simply by moisturizing hands regularly or by purchasing a hand sanitizer with a moisturizing agent in it already.