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All About Hand Sanitizers in time of Covid

Article Contributed by Amy Frautschi

In this scary time, finding ways to protect yourself, your families and your community is very important. Besides wearing masks when in public and staying 6 feet away from each other, getting rid of the virus and germs on your hands is the number one thing that you can do! Washing your hands with soap and water for the length of 20 seconds is what is recommended by the CDC, but because 40% of people living in the Navajo Nation do not have access to running water, hand sanitizer is a second great option. Here is some information about everything you ever wanted to know about hand sanitizer:

What types of hand sanitizer are there?

You can find gel hand sanitizer, foam hand sanitizer and liquid hand sanitizer. Each type is great at getting rid of germs and viruses on your hands. If you buy hand sanitizer, make sure that on the label it says that it contains at least: 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Lower numbers mean the hand sanitizer isn’t strong enough to get rid of the germs and viruses. Many distilleries have been making hand sanitizer and often they have 80% of ethanol or isopropanol, which is great.

What does hand sanitizer do?

Hand sanitizer “deactivates” covid-19 so that the virus can’t function anymore and hurt your body. It’s as if the hand sanitizer takes the batteries out of your TV remote control so it can’t work anymore. Hand sanitizer also kills any other germs that could make you sick.

When should you use hand sanitizer?

You should use hand sanitizer before eating, after using the bathroom, after touching anything a lot of other people touch like a public door handle or a gas pump.

How should I use it?

When putting on hand sanitizer, it’s important to let the liquid/gel/foam dry on your hands. You don’t want to wipe it off or rinse it off.

Where to store it?

It’s important to keep hand sanitizer away from little children when not using it because it is toxic. Hand sanitizer is also flammable so keep it away from fire and lit cigarettes.

The differences between hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes

Hand sanitizer is different than disinfecting wipes like Lysol/Clorox wipes. Hand sanitizer kills most germs and deactivates most viruses but it’s made to be gentle on the skin. Products like bleach are very dangerous on our bodies.

Disinfecting wipes and sprays that contain bleach are meant to kill all of the germs and deactivate all of the viruses on a surface that isn’t a person or an animal. They are very powerful and are used on surfaces such as plastic. You can spray it on your kitchen table, or wipe down your steering wheel. Plastic products can carry the virus on them for around 2-3 days before the virus is inactive and cardboard boxes can carry the virus on them for around 24 hours before it is inactive. So yes, using a disinfectant is a great idea for your house and car and to wipe down your groceries but do not put it on your skin. Using hand sanitizer on your kitchen table isn’t as powerful as using a disinfectant either. So, to summarize, only use hand sanitizer to clean your hands and only use disinfecting spray/wipes to disinfect your household surfaces and groceries.

Here is a helpful visual guide

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