However the point here is that, frequent usage of alcohol based hand sanitizers has reported increased chance of antimicrobial resistance and chance of other viral diseases.
Hand sanitizer is among the several personal care products, which have shifted from being luxury products to essential items due to the changing socio-economic scenario and increasing westernization and urbanization trends in India. During 2014 to 2019 the market growth was at a CAGR around 14%. Since COVID-19 outbreak, the demand for Hand Sanitizer has surged multifold in 2020. Not just for personal and domestic use the rising health care settings requires high end and safer medical environment for health care professionals. In order to do so, the demand for hand sanitizer has drastically increased to contain the Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs).
Washing hands with warm water and soap are the best way to kill any germs and virus but there are times when you do not have access to sink and soap. So you might end up using hand sanitizer. As long as you do it with limited and need basis it is fine but most often it is over used and has become a habit to use hand sanitizer frequently before touching any object at home, office and outside. Most hand sanitizers are composed of alcohol as an active ingredient that functions as an antiseptic. However there are few non-alcohol based hand sanitizer consisting of an antibiotic compound named triclosan or triclocarban. Several research studies have reported that triclosan is a health hazard as its overuse has negative effects on fertility, fetal development, and rates of asthma.
The outbreak of COVID-19 is considered the most significant global public health emergency to human society in the 21st century. To ultimately combat the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, it is desired to develop an effective and safe vaccine against this highly contagious disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Unfortunately until now, there has been a lack of effective antiviral medication and vaccines against COVID-19. Various mitigation strategies have been taken to slow down the rapid spread of COVID-19, such as complete or partial lockdown, travel bans, mass gathering restrictions, home quarantines within communities, physical distancing measures, personal protective actions, and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). In the absence of a vaccine or effective antiviral drugs, hand hygiene is a mainstay of efforts to prevent the spread of this virus.
Till date no medication or vaccine is available to cope with the COVID-19 infection and infection rate is increasing drastically across the globe. WHO has recommended alcohol based hand sanitizers for frequent hand hygiene. In early five months of 2020, American Association of Poison Control Center reported 9504 alcoholic hand sanitizer exposure cases in children under the age of 12 years and recognized that even a small amount of alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in children that is responsible for confusion, vomiting and drowsiness, and in severe cases, respiratory issues. Since in India it is hard to get reference Medical data point, so for understanding purpose we projected USA data. However the point here is that, frequent usage of alcohol based hand sanitizers has reported increased chance of antimicrobial resistance and chance of other viral diseases.
Let us know the issues of alcohol based hand sanitizer that you may face…
Ethanol Dermal contact of ethanol causes irritation and allergic condition of skin and eyes while prolonged exposure results dryness or cracking of skin with peeling redness or itching.
Isopropyl Alcohol Isopropyl based sanitizer intoxication is somehow in line of ethanol toxicity but is more intense compared to ethanol due to its higher molecular weight. This alcohol can harm gastrointestinal tract, can cause respiratory depression and increase in the serum Creatinine. Prolonged exposure can cause skin rash, itching, redness and dryness.
Hydrogen Peroxide Researchers recognize that ingestion of low concentration of hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) is not acute hazardous for human health, and is responsible for minor health problems. In few cases it can cause gastrointestinal issues, mild mucosal irritation and vomiting.
Risk Factor for Children Most hand sanitizers contain at least 60 percent ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol, a stronger concentration of alcohol than what is found in most hard liquors. That means that even small amounts – just a couple of squirts can cause alcohol poisoning in very small children.
In a new report from CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), researchers analyzed data reported to the National Poison Data System (NPDS) from 2011–14 on exposures to alcohol and non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers in children who were 12 years old or younger. Adverse health effects were more likely to be reported for alcohol-based hand sanitizer exposures, and they tended to be worse than those for non-alcohol based hand sanitizer exposures.
Risk of other Viral Diseases Medical experts have started to warn that excessive use of alcohol based hand sanitizer as a preventive measure against corona virus indirectly increases the risk of infection through skin disorders. Too much use of sanitizer against new pneumonia causing virus is responsible for skin damage and reduces its ability to work as a barrier against other harmful viruses. The permeability of skin can get increased and it will be deprived of oil and water. This can lead to skin roughness and irritation. Dry and damaged skin is hotbed for many diseases causing bacteria with increased risk of virus entry into skin.
Proper hand hygiene is one of the essential infection control strategies as it can undeniably lower the likelihood of direct or indirect transmissions of microorganisms like COVID-19. The use of Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers is becoming more common because of their rapid action and efficiency in killing microorganisms, mainly when hand-washing using soap and water is not practical or convenient. There are, however, some situations in which hand-washing is preferred as Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers are less effective when the hands are visibly dirty or stained and cannot cover certain kinds of pathogens. It is vital to select Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizers with appropriate amount of alcohol and practice the correct hand hygiene technique when cleaning hands to ensure all the microorganisms are effectively killed.