The skin of our hands is full of peaks and valleys, folds, and rifts. They are not smooth enough to keep away from the virus but many places of hiding paces for them to stick. Well, then people touch their mouths, eyes, or nose without awareness that viruses are on their fingers, nails, etc. Finally, they may be infected.
As we know, water can wash the apparent dirt that people can see with the eyes, but it is not useful for viruses. However, there are two simple ways you can keep that from happening: soap and hand sanitizer. But which on earth is better?
What does coronavirus be made up of?
Like many other viruses, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, its’ outer surface is made of a lipid bilayer. Those lipids are pin-shaped molecules whose heads are attracted to water, and tails are repulsed by it. When the virus meets water, the lipids naturally become a shell like this: with the heads outside and the tail inside. Their shared reaction to water makes the lipids stick loosely together. This is called hydrophobic effect. This structure protects the virus to damage human cells. However, it has thousands of weak points, where the right molecules could break it down. That’s why soap and hand sanitizer play a role in the global epidemic.
Soap and Hand sanitizer
Actually, a normal soap can remove the dirt and kill the bacteria. FDA has recognized the soap as the best hand-washing items. Soap with flowing water can prevent disease transmission as well.
Compared to soap, the liquid of hand sanitizer is protected by the outer bottle to avoid cross infection, especially in public places.
Both of them works well in the following situations:
- Kill specific bacteria. Soap and hand sanitizer gel can kill some microorganisms causing diarrhea, enteritis, stomachache, bloating, etc.
- Remove the dirt and oil. After hiking, camping or cooking, soap and sanitizer can help to remove dead skin cells, dirt and oil.
- Remove pesticides and chemicals. A study in Washington evaluated household pesticide exposure among orchard workers and children. They found that hand sanitizer had less effectiveness at cleaning the high concentration of pesticides compared with soap.
Soap and hand sanitizer can make the hydrophobic effect disappear and gives the molecules room to move around. To the virus, their effects are like removing all of the nails and mortar from a house or like an earthquake. In either method, the actual process of destroying the virus happens in just a second or two. Whichever you use soap or hand sanitizer, the doctors recommend at least 20 seconds of handwashing. Because the intricate landscape in the hand, soap and sanitizer need to get everywhere including the palm, fingertips, the outside of the hands and between the fingers.
However, when it comes to a coronavirus outbreak, doctors recommend washing your hands with soap and water whenever possible even though both approaches are similarly effective at killing the virus. Soap and water have two benefits: firstly it washes away any dirt which could otherwise hide virus particles. But more importantly, it’s simply easier to fully cover your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. But it’s not convenient to carry with us when we go outside. In the absence of a sink, use the sanitizer as thoroughly as possible and rub your hands together until they’re dry.
Whether people should use soap or sanitizer, it is subject to specific cases. The best way to know which to use during an epidemic is to do what’s best for all things illness-related: Follow the advise of accredited medical professionals.