No silly questions: Hand sanitiser

by | Healthy Living, Kids and Teens Health

Whether waiting by the door at home or wedged into a parka pocket, hand sanitiser is a great tool to help reduce the spread of germs this winter. Here’s a few tips about using hand sanitiser.

How often should I clean my hands?

The most important times are after coughing, sneezing, using the toilet or assisting someone else with any personal care. You should also clean your hands before and after meals, any time you’ve touched animals or contaminated surfaces, and if your hands look dirty.

Is hand sanitiser a good substitute for soap?

Whether you use soap and water or use hand sanitiser depends on the situation and what’s available to you. Cleansing your hands with water and cleanser is best after using the bathroom and when your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. This is because studies have shown while hand sanitiser that contain at least 60% alcohol reduce microbes, they do not kill all germs[1].

Is hand sanitiser damaging to skin?

Keeping skin soft helps maintain the skin barrier which is one of the body’s natural defences against infection[2] .Frequent sanitising can take a toll on skin but some hand sanitisers are formulated to help maintain the skin. Aquim Ultra contains four moisturising ingredients to increase skin hydration: glycerin, pro-vitamin B5, paraffinum liquidum and dimethicone. Together, they moisturise hands every time you sanitise with multiple applications boosting skin hydration by up to 40%*.

* Average increase in skin hydration (corneometer) ­– control vs test. Testing conducted over six hours of multiple, subsequent uses.

Does sanitising my hands after washing them with a cleanser help to further reduce the spread of germs?

Like carrying an umbrella and wearing a raincoat, some people prefer to take every precaution. But doubling up on hand cleaning tactics could do more harm than good. While hand washing and hand sanitising can both be effective at helping reduce the spread of germs, cleansing skin twice can take a toll leaving it susceptible to contact dermatitis[3].Instead of double cleansing, use a cleanser and water wherever possible, and a hand sanitiser when a cleanser is not available[4].

Can you use hand sanitiser on a cut?

This one is definitely a hard ‘no’ because hand sanitiser is designed for use on unbroken skin. Hand sanitiser contains a high concentration of germ-killing alcohol which could cause irritation to a cut, open wound or inflamed skin. Instead, cuts should always be washed with clean, running water that’s safe to drink[5].

Can children use hand sanitiser?

Fact: Keeping small, sticky hands clean is one of the best ways to help reduce the spread of germs. Aqium Ultra hand sanitiser should work just as well on little hands as it does big hands. The most important thing to remember is that hand sanitiser should be applied to the child’s hand by their parent. The high concentrations of alcohol which make hand sanitisers effective against germs can be dangerous if swallowed so take care to keep sanitiser out of reach of little ones.[6]

What can I do to help reduce the spread of germs this winter?

With cold days bringing families together indoors, hand hygiene is more vital than ever to help reduce the spread of germs. Australian owned and made Aqium contains 77% v/v alcohol to kill 99.99% of germs fast**.

**Kills 99.99% of germs according to BS EN 1276

How much hand sanitiser should I use?

Every hand sanitiser is different, so it’s important to check the directions on the packaging. No matter what kind you’re using, there is a technique recommended by the Centres For Disease Control And Prevention to ensure you get the maximum benefits from your hand sanitiser When using hand sanitizer, apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount) and rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry[7].


REFERENCES

[1] When and how to wash your hands. [November 15, 2022. Accessed May 19, 2023] Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html#:~:text=Before%2C%20during%2C%20and%20after%20preparing,treating%20a%20cut%20or%20wound

[2]  Skin microbes and the immune response [26 January 2015. Accessed 21 June, 2023] Available from: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/skin-microbes-immune-response

[3] When and how to use hand sanitiser in community settings [4 May 2023; accessed 20 June 2023] Available from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html

[4]  When and how to use hand sanitiser in community settings [4 May 2023; accessed 20 June 2023] Available from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html

[5] Korting HC, Schöllmann C, White RJ. Management of minor acute cutaneous wounds: importance of wound healing in a moist environment. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol.  [2011 Feb;25(2):130-7. Accessed May, 19 2023] Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20626534/

[6] Health Direct. Hand sanitiser safety and children.[March 2023; accessed 19 May 2023] Available from: https://media.healthdirect.org.au/publications/sanitiser-safety.pdf

[7] When and how to use hand sanitiser in community settings [4 May 2023; accessed 20 June 2023] Available from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html