Soap and water better than sanitisers and wipes to protect one from deadly virus


SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Does hand sanitiser protect you from the Wuhan virus? What about antiseptic wipes?

The best way is actually to wash your hands with soap and water, said Dr Kalisvar Marimuthu, senior infectious disease consultant at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

Soap and water reduces the amount of all types of germs on your hands, so frequent hand washing should keep them clean.

But if you have no access to soap and water, then hand sanitisers with at least 60 per cent alcohol content is a good alternative.

To be effective, you must use enough to cover your hands. Rub it over your hands for about 20 seconds, and leave it to dry naturally instead of wiping dry.

Sanitisers with 60-95 per cent alcohol clean much better than those with less alcohol or no alcohol in them, according to the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. It too says soap and water is better, as sanitisers do not eliminate all types of germs.

As for the usefulness of antiseptic wet wipes, Dr Marimuthu said they should be used for cleaning environmental surfaces and not for hands.

A virologist from Queen Mary University of London did a study on wet wipes some years back and found that in some cases, using wet wipes actually spreads germs rather than removing them.

To be at all effective, the wipes need at least 40 per cent alcohol. Those that are drying out should be discarded. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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