The use of hand sanitizer has increased greatly in recent months, as it is the best way to keep our hands clean on the go when soap and water are not readily available. Keeping the hands clean is key in the protection against the novel coronavirus, and having a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is great. However, squirting some on your hands and giving them a quick wipe may not be enough. For the sanitizer to be as effective as possible, it is important to make sure it’s up to the CDC standard (contains at least 60% alcohol), isn’t expired, and that you avoid the following mistakes when using it.
1. Not using enough
According to the CDC, the proper amount of hand sanitizer should cover the entire surface of your hands. Not putting enough sanitizer on your palm is the most common mistake people make. If you’re worried about using too much, you can rest assured it doesn’t hold any risks. According to health experts, using too much is better than using too little. Make sure you get both sides of your fingertips, between the fingers and the outsides of your thumbs. For your convenience, there is an infographic with the proper instructions at the bottom of the page.
2. Not waiting for the sanitizer to dry
The time that the sanitizer is on your hands before it dries is the time it’s working to inactivate certain bacteria and viruses. The CDC says you should rub your hands together for about 20 seconds until they feel dry. If you don’t do so, you can end up wiping the sanitizer off on something you touch, and thus prevent it from doing its job and render it ineffective.
3. You rely solely on hand sanitizer
As mentioned earlier, hand sanitizer is a great resource when water and soap are inaccessible. If possible, washing your hands is proven to be the most effective way to annihilate germs. Moreover, if there is grease or dirt on your hands from handling food or playing sports, for example, hand sanitizer simply will not do the trick. “If there is dirt covering part of your hand, hand sanitizer cannot really effectively get to the surface of your hand,” said Dr. Zeke J. McKinney in a statement to Huffington Post. “People think hand sanitizer is a reasonable replacement for washing your hands, but it definitely is not”.
Recognize that using hand sanitizer properly is an effective way to slow the potential spread of the coronavirus, but it should not be the only preventative measure you are taking.
Step by step guide to applying hand sanitizer correctly:
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