One topic that seems common today is the effectiveness of hand sanitizer as compared to the traditional hand washing. Now, the discussion generally has stipulations. Most of those involve time, convenience and the potential lack of running water. For the purposes of this article, the focus is going to be on the time and convenience aspects of the topic. Also, the article will focus on the ways that hand sanitizer has been implemented into our daily lives.
Purell, Germ-X, Kleenex, even Clorox have all developed their own specific brand of hand sanitizer. These can range from automatic pump dispensers to pocket-sized clip-on versions of the ever-expanding range of hand sanitizer options. They come in different scents, styles and also effectiveness.
The CDC itself notes that the effectiveness of hand sanitizer can be reduced if hands are "heavily soiled or greasy." This means that hand sanitizer effectiveness can be cut down by using after eating greasy foods or by having dirty hands. The more effective way to clean your hands in those situations would be with the traditional use of soap and water.
Effectiveness can also be reduced by not using a hand sanitizer with a high enough alcohol percentage. The CDC recommends the use of a hand sanitizer with 60-95 percent alcohol concentration. The high alcohol content helps to kill off bacteria that may otherwise be left behind by other hand sanitizers. The high alcohol content also helps to reduce the potential of irritation to the skin that can be caused by some hand sanitizers that don't contain alcohol.
So, how does hand sanitizer factor into the day to day life within society? Think about your last trip to your doctors, or the mall, or even your kid's school. Did you see a wall dispenser filled with hand sanitizer? The chances are that you have. Dispensers are often found in public areas and office environments. Most wall dispensers are located within the bathrooms of these places or in tucked away locations on walls.
Even when these wall dispensers aren't present, chances are that you'll find a desk with a small bottle or you'll see someone with the clip on version on their keys or purse. Most parents that I know carry at least the disposable one on them, especially during flu season. Hand sanitizer has become an everyday item in our society. There is no real escape from the never-ending reach of hand sanitizer.
What does this mean for members of society who have sensitivities or allergies to these products? Basically, it means that they have to be extra careful every place that they go and with the brands that they come in contact with. Some people have issues with the fragrances that many of the products come with. Others have issues with some of the additives to the solution. There are even some who have severe reactions to all forms of hand sanitizer.
For those people, society's obsession with hand sanitizer means grabbing onto a door handle only to burn their skin because the last person left a giant glop of hand sanitizer on the handle. It means avoiding the automatic dispensers that shoot hand sanitizer at you when a motion triggers them. It means repeating yourself to medical professionals about not using the hand sanitizer a million times just in case they forgot. It means taking breaks to wash your hands the traditional way and getting asked why you don't just use hand sanitizer.