All Hand Sanitizers are Not Created Equal

March 6, 2020

The coronavirus is here… Here’s are some tips to try to prevent the spread including how often

 

people should wash their hands and the right way to do it! 

 

How often should you wash your hands? The old standbys still apply: Before handling food. After using the bathroom or changing a diaper. After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. Throw away used tissues.

 

Because we often touch common surfaces like door handles, railings and keypads, make it a habit to also wash up throughout the day if you’re out and as soon as you return home or arrive at work.

 

Remember to wash your hands thoroughly including scrubbing areas besides your palms including:

  • Tips of the fingers, front and back

  • Thumbs, all the way around

  • Between the fingers, front and back

  • The side of each hand along the pinky

  • The back of each hand

  • Wrists, all the way around

It’s recommended to spend at least 20 seconds over the sink.  Aim to wash with soap and water, but if hand sanitizer is your only option, look for a product that is at least 60% alcohol.  Be sure to follow the same steps as you would over a sink, remembering to focus on areas that are easy to forget: fingertips, thumbs, wrists, between the fingers and the outside of your hand along the pinky.

 

Here are tips to avoid dryness and skin irritation:

 

  • Lotions are the lightest option and might be enough, depending on the person. Because they mostly contain water, they’re not going to be as effective as the next two options.

  • Creams are thicker and are a combination of oil and water. They’re good because they usually don’t leave a sticky residue. Look for products that come in tubes or tubs, rather than pump bottles.

  • The most intense moisturizer is an ointment (like Vaseline or Aquaphor), which you can use at night when you don’t have to use your hands as much.

  • Whichever option you chose, apply moisturizer each time after washing your hands.

  • If you have eczema, it’s fine to use a gentle soap, such as Dove, or even a soapless cleanser, such as Cetaphil or CeraVe. Look for hand sanitizers that have emollients in them; the label will say something along the lines of “moisturizing” or “with moisturizer.”

 

Finally, when possible, avoid touching your face or shaking hands.

 

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