Categories: Dermatology

Effect of excessively using Hand Sanitiser

The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It is the part of the body’s first line of defense and prevents the entry of various diseases causing pathogens in our body by acting as the surface barrier. The skin controls our body temperature. The nerves in our skin help us feel sensations like touch, cold, and hot.

The skin is more prone to many skin conditions like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and many skin cancers. Sometimes our skin becomes sensitive to certain chemicals, dyes, clothes, certain skin products. These products may cause rashes, itchiness, dryness, or inflammation on our skin.

Nowadays, hand sanitiser has become very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frequent use of hand washes, hand sanitiser, and mask use has become a new normal for prevention against the pandemic.

Hand sanitiser kills pathogens present on our hands and diminishes transmission of germs also from one person to another. Sanitisers have ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and the antibacterial substance triclosan. The use of hand sanitiser can help us fight against the Coronavirus effectively.

Health experts recommended using a hand sanitiser that contains 60-95% alcohol against the theCOVID-19 virus.

How to use hand sanitiser

The best ways of protection against COVID-19 infection are:

  • Wearing a mask
  • Washing hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds before especially eating, after using the bathroom, after a visit to the outside, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • If soap and water are not available, then for proper sanitization, you may use alcohol-based sanitisers (containing at least 60% alcohol).

But before using sanitisers, makes sure your hands are clean because any organic matter like dirt or grease reduces its efficacy. Take a small coin-sized amount of hand sanitiser, and rub hands together, covering all surfaces of hands and in between fingers also. Do not rinse or wipe off the hand sanitiser if the palms are still wet.

Benefits of hand sanitiser

As we know, germs are everywhere around us, and this Coronavirus is very transmissible, hand hygiene is the key to avoiding getting an infection and spreading the virus to others.

  • Although the best way to remove germs from hands is washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, we can use hand sanitisers when soap and water are not assessable.

Some of the advantages of hand sanitiser are:

  • Hand sanitiser kills the germ and protects us from infections.
  • Sanitisers are easily portable therefore we can use them anywhere.
  • It not only kills germs but prevents the transmission of germs from one person to another.

Adverse effects of hand sanitisers

Despite many benefits of hand sanitiser, it also possesses some side effects

 if used extensively:

  • Irrational use of hand sanitiser can lead to moisture loss on our skin. It can further result in dry, flaky, and cracked skin. Many studies have shown that dry skin is more prone to germ attack.
  • Overusing hand sanitiser may cause red or discolored itchy patches on our skin. This patch is also called eczema.
  • Direct exposure to hand sanitiser on the eye may result in irritation and redness of the eyes. If not washed immediately, it can damage the outer layer of our eyes.
  • When we use hand sanitiser more, pathogens and germs start building up resistance to the drugs, putting us at risk for several infections.
  • Hand sanitiser approved for use contains a high amount of alcohol (60-95%) and other ingredients. So if swallowed in a significant amount, they may show symptoms similar to alcohol poisoning.

How should one be careful while using hand sanitiser?

Sanitiser is used only for external purposes. Ingestion of hand sanitiser can cause poisoning in both adults and children.

 Some of the precautions we can take while using hand sanitiser are:

  • Take care of your child when they are using hand sanitiser.
  • Keep hand sanitiser out of toddler and children’s reach because its colour and fragrance can allure our kids to drink it.
  • Avoid touching your eyes or mouth immediately after using hand sanitiser, and wait until your hands are dry completely.
  • Keep the hand sanitiser in a cool and dry place.
  • Don’t place sanitiser in closed places like the car because the alcohol content in sanitiser makes it flammable and, keeping sanitiser in the car for hours or days can create a risk of fire.
  • Hand sanitiser contains alcohol, so it is highly inflammatory. Completely dry your hand after using hand sanitiser before doing any work that exposes you to heat, open flame, or electricity.

If someone has accidentally ingested a hand sanitiser, immediately call an emergency helpline.

Narayana Health

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