Your weather when it really mattersTM

Country

Please choose your default site

Americas

Asia - Pacific

Europe

When it comes to fighting germs, soap and water is best

Friday, March 6th 2020, 5:22 pm - Here's what experts say about fighting germs during flu season.

Coronavirus fears have sparked shortages at grocery stores and pharmacies around the world.

Some of the most in-demand items include toilet paper -- which is in short supply in several countries -- and hand sanitizer. According to the Nielsen company, sales of the latter are up more than 70 per cent this year over last.

That's prompted several websites to publish recipes for DIY sanitizers. Experts say they can be effective, but only if the right concentration of ingredients is used.

That, unfortunately, can't be guaranteed. To be effective, a hand sanitizer must contain 60 per cent alcohol. That can be drying, so it's usually combined with an emolument like aloe vera.

If the mixture is off it could be ineffective or, in a worst-case scenario, damage the skin.

VIDEO: STARBUCKS TAKES STEPS TO LIMIT CORONAVIRUS CONTAMINATION IN STORES

GOOD OLD SOAP AND WATER

When it comes to fighting germs, experts recommend washing hands with soap and water.

While there is research suggesting hand sanitizer is an effective way to kill germs, that may not hold up in real-life situations.

That's because most people don't use enough sanitizer for it to be effective, or they accidentally wipe it off before it has dried.

And unlike soap, sanitizers may be less effective on dirty or greasy hands, according to the CDC.

ANTIBACTERIAL VS. REGULAR SOAP

When it comes to soap, there is no shortage of choice.

So what's best?

According to the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., regular soap works just fine.

In May 2019, the government body said the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap "haven't been proven" and made the move to ban triclosan and triclocarban, two common antibacterial ingredients, in consumer products.

The FDA argues manufactures haven't proven the ingredients are safe for long-term use, but triclosan is still used in Canadian products.

“Following simple handwashing practices is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness at home, at school and elsewhere,” Theresa M. Michele, MD, of the FDA’s Division of Nonprescription Drug Products, said in a statement.

“We can’t advise this enough. It’s simple, and it works.”

VIDEO: COULD SPRING IMPACT THE SPREAD OF CORONAVIRUS?

WHEN TO WASH YOUR HANDS

Germs enter the body when we touch our eyes, nose, and mouth, so hands should be washed several times a day -- as you touch people, objects, and surfaces.

This can prevent you from getting sick and from spreading germs to others.

The Mayo Clinic says hands should always be washed before and after eating or handling food, when caring for a sick person or child, and when inserting and removing contact lenses.

Hands should always be washed after handling garbage, blowing your nose, handling animals, when treating wounds, and when using the bathroom -- as well as when your hands are visibly dirty.

BEST PRACITCES

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water, warm or cold.
  • Apply soap to hands and rub vigorously for at least 20 seconds (that's enough time to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice).
  • Make sure to clean all surfaces -- including hands, wrists, between fingers, and under fingernails.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Air dry or use a clean towel.

"The most important way to stop [Coronavirus] spread and to prevent infection is to practice good hygiene protocol," pharmacist Victor Wong tells The Weather Network.

"That means washing our hands and making sure not to use our hands to touch our face, which is something we do 1000 to 3000 times a day."

Wong says in addition to washing your hand, always sneeze into a tissue or, if a tissue isn't available, your sleeve.

Default saved
Close

Search Location

Close

Sign In

Please sign in to use this feature.