Hands through contact with contaminated objects transmit approximately 80% of infectious diseases. Therefore, especially after travelling on public transport, hands should be washed.
What are the benefits of washing with soap compared to the use of hydro-alcoholic solution (HAS)?
Conventional hand washing with soap and water is recommended when a water point is available. Indeed, careful hand washing with soap and water eliminates the vast majority of microorganisms, accentuating the slippery skin’s properties, where the hydro-alcoholic solution kills pathogens, but leaves them on the skin. We should add that the use of HAS in excess could favor the emergence and proliferation of resistant bacterial strains, which is not the case with soapy water.
In the absence of an available water source, the use of a hydro-alcoholic solution is however recommended, particularly in collective environments (public transport, public areas) as it has the advantage of being easily transportable.
The use of HAS does not require rinsing or drying, however it is essential to use a large quantity of liquid, the volume for hydro-alcoholic friction must be sufficient to cover the entire surface of the hands. Moreover, the friction must last at least twenty seconds.
Why must the hydro-alcoholic solution contain a high percentage of alcohol?
Alcohol can inactivate and/or suppress the growth of microorganisms when applied to the hands. It attacks and destroys the envelope protein present on the surface of certain viruses, including coronaviruses. This protein is vital for the survival and multiplication of these viruses.
To be able to kill most viruses, a hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers containing less than 60% alcohol are first of all less effective against viruses, but also against bacteria and fungi; they only reduce the growth of germs instead of killing them completely.
Caution: SHAs cannot be used on soiled hands or wounds. Other types of antiseptic skin cleansers are classified as pharmaceutical products.
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Washing your hands with soap is the first step for a good disinfection.
- Wash your hands with soap and water between 40 and 60 seconds to remove soil. Emphasize certain areas: the back of your hands, the spaces and tops of your fingers!
- Dry your hands with a clean and dry towel or, even more securely, with a single-use paper towel. Caution: Do not use an air dryer as there is a risk of re-contamination.