As the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic begins to sweep across Europe the extra-importance of staying healthy by keeping our hands clean has returned.  

But despite the virus having been with us for months, people are still not using hand gels and disinfectants properly.

To better understand this problem, here are the biggest mistakes people make with hand sanitiser.

1. People don’t use hand sanitiser correctly.

For most people, using hand sanitiser means a quick squirt of liquid followed by a rub of the hands until the liquid has gone.

However, for effective hand sanitising, the process should be much more thorough, lasting 20 – 30 seconds. Specifically, a good hand sanitiser routine should be as follows:

1.       Apply a palmful of product.

2.       Rub the palms together.

3.       Rub the back of the hands and in between the fingers.

4.       Rub the back of the fingers.

5.       In turn, grip each thumb and rotate.

6.       Continue the process until all the product has gone.

2. People don’t use the hand sanitiser available in shops and other social spaces.

Perhaps the biggest problem is that people don’t use hand sanitiser often enough.

As one commentator on social media states, despite his country going into an almost complete lockdown, “Still, I see people entering supermarkets who do not use the hand sanitizer upon entry as required. Are they crazy?”

3. People use ineffective hand sanitiser.

For the effective (and safe) sanitising of hands, it is important to use a proper product.

To kill the coronavirus this means using a product which contains a minimum of 60% alcohol. Although ideally, disinfecting hand gel or sanitiser should contain closer to 80% to achieve full confidence in its effectiveness.

Products with less than 60% alcohol do not have sufficient killing power to destroy viruses and germs, and may instead only reduce the growth rate of a virus or kill some (but not all) of a group of pathogens.

4. People use disinfecting liquids in the place of hand sanitiser.

Whether it is through thrift or ignorance, some people have got into the habit of using disinfecting sprays and antibacterial wipes to clean their hands. However, these products have been designed to clean ‘hard, nonporous surfaces,’ and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend them for use on human skin.

While this may be obvious to the majority of the population, a recent survey conducted by the American Center for Disease Control (CDC) and published in June 2020, found that, “Thirty-nine percent reported intentionally engaging in at least one high-risk practice not recommended by CDC for prevention of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, including application of bleach to food items (e.g., fruits and vegetables) (19%); use of household cleaning and disinfectant products on hands or skin (18%); misting the body with a cleaning or disinfectant spray (10%); inhalation of vapors from household cleaners or disinfectants (6%); and drinking or gargling diluted bleach solutions, soapy water, and other cleaning and disinfectant solutions (4% each).”

5. People drink hand sanitiser.

While the CDC survey in mistake #4 found that some people were gargling with cleaning products, a tiny majority of people have even taken to drinking hand sanitiser.

As the BBC reported from India in the midst of the first wave, “At least 10 people have died after drinking alcohol-based sanitiser after liquor shops were closed.”

While it is thought that the victims were extremely impoverished alcoholics, the problem is not just contained to this level of Third World desperation.

For example, a further report from the American CDC, asked, “… Americans not to drink potentially deadly hand sanitizers.” Specifically, “The agency released details of 15 recent cases, including four people who died, three who lost vision, and eight others who were hospitalized after ingesting the product.”

While many of the cases in this list may seem extreme, or even a case of natural selection at work, it is likely that we have all been guilty of making mistakes with hand sanitiser at some point since the pandemic began.

These are trying times, and we all must take care to stay healthy. To do that we all need to take greater care of how we keep our hands clean. And to do that we all need to avoid making mistakes with hand sanitiser.

To find out more about that read: Correct Hand Sanitiser Formula Proven a Coronavirus Killer or visit AG PROTECT to learn where to buy an effective hand gel.

Photo credit: Noah on Unsplash, Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash, Pinterest, Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash, & Tim Mossholder on Unsplash