Coronavirus: not all hand sanitisers work against it – here’s what you should use

Photo: Elizaveta Galitckaia/ Shutterstock

(Manal Mohammed/ The Conversation) — Since the outbreak of COVID-19, sales of hand sanitisers have soared. It’s become such a sought-after product that pharmacies and supermarkets have started limiting the number that people can buy at one time. New York state has even announced it will start producing its own hand sanitiser to meet demand. Though hand sanitisers can help reduce our risk of catching certain infections, not all hand sanitisers are equally effective against coronavirus.

As with other viral respiratory infections – like the common cold and flu – the novel coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) is mainly spread when virus-laden droplets from a person’s mouth or nose are transferred to other people. However, a recent study has suggested that it can also spread through faeces.

Aside from inhaling droplets, you can also get respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 by touching anything contaminated with the virus and then touching your face, in particular your mouth or nose. We touch our faces a lot without even realising it. A study from New South Wales found that people touch their faces about 23 times an hour.

Washing with warm water and soap remains the gold standard for hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Washing with warm water (not cold water) and soap removes oils from our hands that can harbour microbes. (…)

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