Health experts around the world agree that using plain soap and water is one of the best ways to ward off the fast-spreading Coronavirus. But other options like antibacterial cleansers and hand sanitizers are also available. So, what's best?
Antibacterial vs. regular soap
Antibacterial soap might sound like it's the best option for fighting the Coronavirus, but according to the Food and Drug Administration, there’s no evidence to suggest it is any better than regular soap at killing the virus.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there isn’t enough science to show that over-the-counter (OTC) antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing with plain soap and water. To date, the benefits of using antibacterial hand soap haven’t been proven. In addition, the wide use of these products over a long time has raised the question of potential negative effects on your health. Overexposure to antibiotics or improper antibiotic use can lead to bacterial resistance, making it more difficult or even impossible to treat bacterial infections.
The Coronavirus, like many other viruses, is held together by a fatty shell, a lipid membrane. The reason regular soap is so effective against viruses is that it strips that protective fat layer away from the virus and tears the virus apart.
The FDA is currently reviewing the ingredients in hand sanitizer products and says right now there is no evidence that hand sanitizers are any more effective than regular soap and water in helping to prevent the spread of germs. In fact, hand sanitizers are not very good for cleaning hands covered in dirt, mud, or grease — the kinds of substances people will have on their hands in real world scenarios, that germs of all kind tend to cling to.
Additionally, researchers have warned that overuse of hand sanitizers may actually reduce the skin's own defenses, and possibly contribute to antibiotic resistance. Using hand sanitizers may actually lower your resistance to diseases by killing good bacteria, which helps protect against bad bacteria.
Experts say that we don't need to use sanitizer every time we go outside. They add that using good old soap and water is more effective and less toxic.
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