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Understanding Hand Sanitizers for Parents and Kids

Posted October 2020 by Biodermis
It’s no news that children get dirty quickly because they are constantly playing outside and touching things with their hands. Children are taught from a young age by their parents, teachers, and other adult figures that keeping their hands clean can keep them from getting sick and spreading germs. Now more than ever, during the time of COVID, children and adults alike are urged to wash their hands and carry sanitizer with them wherever they go. While it’s a good thing that we are becoming more health conscious, it’s also important to be aware of how to safely and productively use sanitizers.

In this article, we will take an in depth look at hand sanitizers so that you can make an informed decision of what to look out for and how to best use them.

Hand sanitizers


All about hand sanitizers

It’s important to note that washing your hands with soap and water should never be replaced with using hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers don’t eliminate everything. Soap and water are more effective at removing common illness-causing germs such as norovirus, clostridium difficile, and cryptosporidium. Hand-washing is also effective at removing harmful chemicals like pesticides and heavy metals like lead. Hand sanitizers, on the other hand, are useful when you are on the go and have no other cleaning alternatives.

Alcohol-based sanitizers are the most effective at eliminating harmful pathogens and are considered an essential medicine by the World Health Organization (WHO). Alcohol has been used as an antiseptic as early as the 1300s and has been extensively studied since the 1800s. Sanitizers may contain different variations of alcohol including isopropyl alcohol, ethanol (ethyl alcohol), or n-propanol. Sanitizers that contain 60% to 95% alcohol are the most effective for sanitation purposes. They do a good job of working against many varieties of microorganisms including most bacteria and viruses, but are ineffective against spores (fungus and algae).

Sanitizers that contain fragrances are not encouraged by the medical community because they may cause allergic reactions or contact dermatitis. Some brands of sanitizers include glycerol or other compounds meant to combat the effects of alcohol drying out the skin. It should be noted that even with the inclusion of moisturizing compounds, the excessive use of sanitizers can still severely dry out the skin. If your skin is dry to the point of cracking, the alcohol in sanitizer can cause pain and a temporary burning sensation. For this reason, it is wise to use a separate moisturizer in conjunction with sanitizers to keep your skin from becoming dehydrated.

The use of hand sanitizers by young kids does not come without some risk and parents should educate their children on proper use. To get the most out of a sanitizer, one should apply a sufficient amount to one hand and proceed to rub it on the entire surfaces of both hands. Wait for it to completely dry before touching food or other objects. Consumption of sanitizer should be entirely avoided because it can lead to many unwanted side-effects. However, the benefits of using sanitizers far outweigh the risks. With proper education and use, sanitizers can be the most effective tool you have for fighting many illness-causing germs.


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