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Your FAQs About Alcohol-Based Hand & Surface Sanitsers - Answered by TelLab©

In the absence of a vaccine or comprehensive treatment, currently the front line in dealing with CoViD-19 is focused on prevention and reducing transmission.

The virus is spread by contact, droplet and airborne transmission. Therefore, according to a recent review article1, published in the Archives of Medical Research, the first pillar in protection is the correct selection of surface disinfectants, the second is effective hand hygiene, while the third pillar centres on the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (such as face masks).

Yes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)2 “the best way to prevent the spread of infections and decrease the risk of getting sick is by washing your hands with plain soap and water ….for at least 20 seconds…especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing one’s nose”

In contrasts, the CDC doesn’t recommend the use of consumer antiseptic wash products or anti-bacterial soaps, as there is insufficient research to support them being any more effective that standard soap – and, in fact, they may cause long-term harm2.

If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends the use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 2 Alcohol-based hand sanitisers play a crucial role where hand washing facilities are not readily available or convenient, such as in the workplace, public space or on the move.  Moreover, they can be quicker and less irritating to the hands than frequent washing with soap and water!.

Experience from previous epidemics, including SARS CoV-1 , Zika and Ebola, has shown isopropyl alcohol and ethanol efficiently inactive enveloped viruses of the type responsible CoViD 19.1

A recent laboratory study, published in the journal for Emerging Infectious Diseases 4 study has indicated that these two forms of alcohol at the above concentrations can kill the virus responsible for CoViD-19 – in as little as 30 seconds.

Yes. The effectiveness of hand rubs/gels in the required alcohol content range also depends on a sufficient quantity of sanitiser being applied. The WHO stresses that it is important to cover all surfaces of the hand. According to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control7, a dose of 2.25 ml alcohol-based hand rub is required for adequate coverage (82%-90%) of both sides of the hand. The study7 also found that the recommended WHO drying time of 20-30 seconds is achieved with a 1.5-2.25 ml dose of hand rub.

We have provided a visual aid below to guide you on the recommended application/rubbing technique.

All alcohol-based products are potentially flammable. However, the WHO concludes that “the benefits of the alcohol in terms of infection prevention far outweigh the fire risks”8.  Further fire hazard and other risk information relating to large-scale use and storage of alcohol-based hand sanitiser is available at the WHO website8.

From our experience of producing alcohol-based products, we would offer users the following basic pointers:

  • Keep away from heat, hot surfaces, sparks, open flames and other ignition sources. No smoking.
  • Store in a cool, well ventilated area. Keep container tightly closed
  • Product is for external use only
  • Avoid contact with the eyes
  • Keep out of reach of children

TelLab products are supplied with the correct chemical product labelling and hazard warnings, and your order is accompanied with a full TelLab Material Safety Data Sheet 5, specific to our products. We advise you to read this data sheet prior to product storage or use.  

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