How effective is antibacterial gel?
Antibacterial gel is often recommended to prevent various contagious diseases, but do you know if it works for coronavirus?
With the declaration that we are experiencing a pandemic caused by COVID-19 according to international health organizations, hygiene protocols have become stricter, both in the workplace and at home. The most commonly recommended measures are proper hand washing and the use of antibacterial gel.
The use of this last item caused sales to skyrocket around the world, leaving a large number of establishments out of stock. But does this gel really help us prevent infection with this new virus?
Antibacterial gel is effective, but only with a certain percentage of alcohol.
It is very likely that in some of these days you have come across publications where it is claimed that with the simple use of the gel we cannot prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, health authorities point out that the gel can be used as a preventive measure in case there is no access to soap and water.
The way hands should be washed is with plenty of soap and water and rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds, making sure to also clean between the fingers and under the fingernails. Ideally, wash them before eating, after going to the bathroom and after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose.
If we can’t wash our hands, then this is where an antibacterial gel helps, as long as it has at least 60% alcohol.
Antibacterial gels that are often flavoured or distributed for cosmetic purposes will rarely meet the 60% alcohol requirement. So it is best to avoid them or check the label before buying to make sure it has the 60%.
Some experts in the field mention that alcohol-based disinfectants are very effective because they can deactivate bacteria and viruses. This is especially helpful in cases where the virus is covered by a lipid coat, such as coronavirus. This layer of fat can be broken by alcohol, the main component of this gel.
As stated above, the use of gel should never replace handwashing, but rather should be used when handwashing is not available.
How effective is antibacterial against covid-19?
Even knowing that antibacterial gel is capable of damaging the outer layer of the virus, we must always give priority to proper hand hygiene. In some cases, the use of gel and soap is a very effective combination because both act directly on the virus. Soap can help to break down the coating of the virus, while alcohol modifies its chemical composition, making it more permeable to the environment and therefore easier to remove.
So now you know, if you read that antibacterial gel doesn’t work for this virus, remember that there are several international organizations that recommend using it in case you can’t wash your hands, either because you are in a public place or in a place without a bathroom.
Our articles are written for educational and informational purposes and should never be taken as a medical consultation. If necessary, see your doctor or health care professional instead before you start using supplements or making changes to your diet.