We live in a world full of germs. Because germs are microscopic bacteria, virus and fungi that cannot be seen with the human eye – we cannot see that we are touching, breathing and walking into germs every single day of our life. There are many ways to spread ones own germs or catch someone elses: sneezing, coughing, breathing, touching, and so forth. Germs ultimately can cause illnesses and diseases from the common cold and pneumonia to hepatitis A, and others.
The most common way to spread germs is the human touch. Throughout the day, we touch everything from our car door, to office doors, elevator buttons, we shake hands or give high-fives, we touch telephones/cell phones, toilet and sink levers, in the movie theatre (dark seat handles to the video game machines), shopping carts everywhere, we touch money, computer keyboard/mouse, laundry machines, and then we touch our partner, kids, food and our face/mouth. You wash your hands in a public bathroom with soap and water, but then touch the paper towel dispenser, then touch the bathroom door to exit. In an ideal (paranoid) world, you would be washing your hands with soap and water after every little event. But in reality, we don’t. We have programmed our brains to use soap and water after certain events, but not every event. Plus, you don’t have access to soap and water always. This is where hand sanitizers come in.
A hand sanitizer is a supplement or alternative to hand washing with soap and water and usually contains isopropanol, ethanol, or other active ingredients such as alcohol based. The Mayo Clinic recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Hand sanitizers come in many different price ranges (from $.50 off-brand to $5+/pocket beaded aroma gel), liquid/foam/gel, and different style/sizes:
Pocket hand spray
Pocket gel pump
Hand sanitizers can be found at just about every retail store, gas station, pharmacy, grocery stores, etc. Most brick-and-mortar places these days provide a hand sanitizer station as complimentary for incoming/outgoing visitors.
You do not need to buy a large tub of hand sanitizer fluid, but it is my recommendation that you keep hand sanitizers in these 5 key locations:
Personal office desk: This is where the boss, the peers, the business partners, vendors and so many may others may stop by and talk to you; mostlikely shaking hands. Do you know where their hands were before shaking your hand?
Office gathering place: Cafeteria, break area, smoking lounge, meeting room, or other places where people get together and communicate is a good place to keep a hand sanitizer bottle.
Car: Filling up the gas, grabbing a pop from a vending machine, or using the vacuum at a car wash – you want to keep a pocket bottle or spray in your car.
Ladies purse: Good idea to have your spouse keep a small spray/bottle in her purse, to use when you are at a mall (food court), or out and about running errands.
Home: You will want to keep a bottle at home for using after working in the garage, throwing out the trash, or fixing stuff in the basement.
I have no doubts you can think of a 100 more places to use a hand sanitizer.
With so many different options available in the market, which do you buy? Not all hand sanitizers are the same, and do not go with the cheapest ones. Some popular and effective ones to try are:
Purell Instant Hand Sanitizer:
Kills 99.99% of the most common germs that may cause illness.
Pump Bottles, portable options, wipes and sprays
Nexcare Moisturing Hand Sanitizer:
Kills 98% of most common germs (or harmful bacteria) in 15 seconds
3oz size ideal for travel (meets TSA carry-on guidelines)
Kills 99.99% of many common germs and bacteria in as little as 15 seconds while gently moisturizing skin to keep hands soft and smooth, even with frequent use
For desktop, countertop, pocket, purse, diaper bag or travel bag
Bath and Body Works:
Wide variety of sizes, smells and colors
A hand sanitizer is a great step in preventing germs, but is still no substitute for washing hands with soap and water. Here is some information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on handwashing: http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/
Clean hands, clean body equals good hygiene and a healthy body!