Use hand sanitiser only when there is no availability of soap, expert recommends

By Sushil Batra/ Joymala Bagchi

New Delhi [India], June 8 (ANI): While COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard on human lives, people from every stratum of the society are keeping themselves aware and updated with the information available on public domain--- by maintaining distance, wearing a mask and carrying a bottle of sanitisers necessarily if not soap. However, experts have recommended to use sanitiser only when soap is unavailable and also cautioned about its over use.

Demand for alcohol-based sanitisers, disinfectant, soaps is increasing each day as it has proved effectively inactivating the virus and containing the spread.

It has been recommended that hand sanitiser must have a higher percentage of alcohol and ethanol that inactivates the virus and eventually kills it.

However, lately, the harmful effects of using too many sanitisers have also become a topic of discussion in public forums.

There are reports saying people relying on sanitiser largely have complained of dry hands, itching, redness, flakes primarily.

Speaking to ANI, Dr Alok Dhawan, Director, CSIR- Indian Institute of Toxicology Research said, "The policy of using sanitisers should only be used judiciously as and when required where there is no availability of soap and water. Using two to three ml of sanitiser and drying it off cannot be of any harm but one also should know that sanitising hands every 20 minutes is not recommended."

Anything if used more than the prescribed limit is bound to have an adverse effect, Dhawan reconfirms.

WHO's sanitiser formulation recommends the use of ethanol, glycerol, and hydrogen peroxide.

Dr Anup Kumar, Prof, and Head, Department of Urology and Renal, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital said, "The recommended sanitisers used over intact skin has no such harm attached it to, however, if these sanitisers are consumed orally, can cause kidney, liver damage along with blindness. If sanitiser comes in contact with eyes or mucous membranes, it can cause local irritation, redness, swelling, and allergy."

There have been incidents of spraying disinfectant on the human body to which Kumar said, "This isopropyl alcohol-based sanitiser should not be sprayed over human beings, it should be used only on hands."

The doctor also recommended the use of soap and water for better protection than alcohol sanitiser for COVID-19.

"We are making sanitiser as per the WHO formula and as recommended by the Central government. It is quite safe for short uses and regular use may affect the skin. It is possible to add moisturisers and Aloe vera and other valuable ingredients to take extra care of the skin. Whatever recommendation comes from authorities, we will change the formula accordingly," said Sushil Suri, CMD, Morepen Laboratories Ltd.

The Centre for Disease Control and prevention advocates that sanitisers that contain antibacterial ingredients can develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

India saw the highest single-day spike of 9,983 cases on Monday taking the total count of coronavirus cases to over 2.56 lakh with 206 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. (ANI)