In this article we are going to talk about the Advantages and Disadvantages of using Hand Sanitizers. Hand sanitizers gained sudden popularity from the month of February 2020. Need for hand sanitizers surged round the globe as the COVID-19 started to have a grip on all the countries in the world. Sales of soaps and hand sanitizers bulged in all the markets worldwide. The virus which originated in China has now affected almost the whole world leaving only handful countries with no active COVID-19 cases. According to the data published by market research firm Kantar, U.K. hand sanitizers sales saw a year-on-year increase of 255% in February.
People are being advised to maintain social distancing and wash their hands regularly. In order to keep their hands clean people are buying soaps and sanitizers. But as the law of the nature everything has its own set of positive and negative points. Let us take a tour through the pros and cons of using hand sanitizers.
5 Advantages of using hand sanitizer
The advantages of using hand sanitizer are discussed below:
1. Time required is less
Washing hands using soap and water is time consuming as compared to doing it with a hand sanitizer. Imagine you have been summoned to your senior’s cabin immediately and you have come from a field visit. During such moments you do not have enough time to run to the restroom and wash your hands with soap and water. At such times hand sanitizers prove to be a boon as all you have to do is pour a little amount of hand sanitizer on your palms and rub them neatly and systematically. And this can be done while you are on your way to the cabin.
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2. Fast functioning
In this fast pacing world where people are always in a rush, even hand wash needs to be fast and quick. The advantage of using hand sanitizers is that they act quickly as compared to the traditional soaps. They work fast to kill micro-organisms and bacteria, cleaning our hands in no time. In reality soaps do not kill bacteria from our hands but they mechanically remove them from our hands. Only those soaps that are antibacterial help in killing bacteria from our hands.
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3. Accessible and Portable
It is highly difficult to carry soap and water every time you leave home. In such cases hand sanitizers come quite handy. One can find a bottle of hand sanitizer in any medical store. It is very convenient to carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in a handbag or sack bag or even in one’s pocket. And even if you forget to carry one along with you, you can just ask your friends or colleagues for a few drops of hand sanitizer. Like traditional soap bar you do not have to touch the whole content of a hand sanitizer. But when it comes to using a borrowed soap, we never know how many other people have already used it. Hand sanitizers can be very useful when traveling or when in places suffering from shortage of water and non availability of soap.
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4. Soft, cold and fragrant
It is a known fact that traditional soap bars leave our skins dry after use. But when you apply hand sanitizer and rub it over your palms the skin actually feels soft and smooth and it remains the same for a mentionable period of time. Hand sanitizers are alcohol based. The molecules in the sanitizer that have elevated amount of energy evaporate from the liquid due to the additional heat gained by the rubbing action of hands. Due to this the molecules that have small amount of energy are left on the applier’s hands. These molecules gain heat from our palms and evaporate away causing the reduction of temperature of the applied region. Due to this when you apply hand sanitizer and rub your hands you feel pleasant and cool. Also many hand sanitizers come with scents giving your hands a delightful fragrance.
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5. Affordable and long lasting
Whenever we are out to buy goods from market, the first two things we check before buying any item is its price and its quantity. Because we want to make sure how costly the item is and at that price how long will it be useful to me. One can easily find a 50ml bottle of hand sanitizer of a reputed company for 90INR in any drug store nearby. Hand sanitizers are most useful when in a group or a team meeting where a lot of handshakes can be expected. If bought in bulk, they come at very cheap price.
The duration for which a bottle of sanitizer will last completely depends on individual use. Hand sanitizers are effective for almost 3 years from the date of manufacturing. They expire because the alcohol content in the sanitizer evaporates over the period of time making it useless in killing germs and bacteria.
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5 Disadvantages of using hand sanitizer
The disadvantages of using hand sanitizer are discussed below:
1. Some brands are futile
Not all hand sanitizers available in market are effective in killing bacteria. Many brands supply weak sanitizers which are completely useless and it becomes difficult for the common man to differentiate between the good ones and bad ones. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many fake hand sanitizer crews are taking shape. According to IndiaToday the police captured thousands of units of fake hand sanitizers and raw materials worth 40 lakhs INR in Hyderabad on 18 March, 2020. Such fake and useless hand sanitizers are not only ineffective in killing bacteria but are also harmful to your health. So before buying any hand sanitizer one should check its authenticity with the help of Google and internet. Also check out for authenticity by confirming their certifications printed on the bottle of hand sanitizer.
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2. Useless on dirt
Soaps help in removing oil and dirt form our hands. But these soaps cannot be substituted with hand sanitizers as they fail to relieve our hands from such dirt. If your hands get stained by grease or oil, soap and water would be the mandatory ingredients to get rid of them. Hand sanitizers prove to be helpful only when considering micro-organisms and bacteria.
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3. Sanitizers kill bacteria (Bad as well as the good ones)
The strong alcohol base equips the hand sanitizers with the ability to kill and terminate micro-organisms and bacteria. The drawback of this ability is that it does not come with a view to differentiate between the good and the bad bacteria. Allowing a small amount of bacteria into our system is in fact useful. As it trains and strengthens our body’s immune system to fight bacteria. But due to overuse of hand sanitizers, the immune system will weaken and won’t be able to fight when our body is attacked by a bacteria or virus.
4. Not safe for children
Children should use hand sanitizers only when soap and water is unavailable, specially the children below the age of 5 years. This is because hand sanitizers contain alcohol ranging from 45% to 90%. If children consume this by mistake it can lead to alcohol poisoning. In such case immediate medical assistance should be given.
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5. Flammable in nature
As written above, along with children, overuse of hand sanitizer can be harmful to adults too. If consumed by mistake could cause vomiting, stomach ache and confusion. Touching eyes with sanitizer still on your fingers can lead to eye infection. Also care should be taken, not to apply it on open wounds. Other hazardous factor related to hand sanitizers is that they are flammable in nature. This is due the alcohol base. If you apply it on hands and your hands are in close proximity of fire, there is a high chance that the sanitizer on your hands may catch fire. So after applying hand sanitizer it is better not to touch your nose, lips, eyes and stay away from fire until it evaporates from your hands.
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These were some of the advantages and disadvantages of using hand sanitizers. Looking at all the mentioned points I personally feel that hand sanitizers should be used only and only when soap and water is not available. When staying home, which is being recommended by everyone at present, it is better to use soap and water to wash your hands. And when traveling or in a rush or in the absence of water it is recommended to use hand sanitizers. Be a responsible citizen by taking care of yourself, staying home and washing hands frequently.