Alcohol Gel

Covid-19: 3 important indications you should know about alcohol gel

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At a time when the coronavirus epidemic is globally established, gel alcohol is receiving almost all the attention. How to choose the right hydroalcoholic solution? Can you really do it yourself as suggested by the World Health Organization?

The use of alcohol gel, with handwashing in soapy water, is at the heart of the strategy to fight the coronavirus, it was a safe bet that these products would be taken in the storm. As a result, some sellers did not hesitate to inflate prices.

Several countries set "price limits". For example France indicated that: 50 ml bottles cannot cost more than 2 euros, 100 ml bottles are limited to 3 euros, 300 ml bottles to 5 euros and a liter of alcohol gel cannot exceed 15 euros. . Manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, pharmacies, supermarkets and websites must comply with this price framework, at the risk of being exposed to a fine of € 7,500 per product sold in the event of fraud.

Although it is one thing to regulate the prices of alcohol gel, it is still necessary to choose them well. Because many different products coexist on the market.

To ensure you are well protected, with an effective antimicrobial solution, it is advisable to rely on several criteria. It is recommended to give priority to hydroalcoholic products that carry the NF EN 14476 standard, because "the reference to this standard indicates that the product has undergone tests that demonstrate its activity in naked viruses (therefore, in viruses that are more resistant than enveloped viruses) ". This standard is generally clearly visible on the packaging.

Furthermore, the ideal is to choose a solution or gel alcohol based on ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) or propyl alcohol (propane-1-ol or n-propanol) or isopropyl alcohol (propane -2-ol or isopropanol) whose optimal concentration is between 60% and 70%, or in a concentration between 520 and 630 mg / g. This alcohol concentration must appear visibly on the label.

Also note that some alcohol gel, especially those sold online, still contain triclosan, a proven endocrine disrupting antibacterial agent, with potential effects on the thyroid gland, reproduction, and development. However it can still be found at a concentration of 0.3% in the finished product.

Careful 30-second friction

These products must be used in visibly immaculate hands, and it is crucial to respect a friction time of at least thirty seconds until the hands are dry. Recommendations of the WHO, specifies that no part of the hands should be forgotten. We will take care of rubbing the back of the hands, the palm, the thumbs, the interdigital spaces and the back of the fingers.

Anti-Covid-19 alcohol gel: can you really do it yourself?

It is the World Health Organization (WHO) itself that has launched the ingredients and process online to make its own hydroalcoholic solution online.

In its "guide to the local production of hydroalcoholic solutions", the WHO indicates that three main ingredients are needed: ethanol (in other words, alcohol), hydrogen peroxide and glycerol, and possibly distilled water (or chilled boiling water) to make small amounts. All of these ingredients are relatively easy to find commercially.

However, the preparation of such a solution requires some precautions and knowledge, particularly in terms of hygiene and sterility, and quite specific equipment (graduated beakers, alcohol meter, etc.). It is particularly advisable to place the vials filled with the obtained solution in quarantine for 72 hours, a period that allows the destruction of bacterial spores potentially present in the alcohol or in the vials.

WHO is directing this document to pharmacy professionals, not the general public.

As for the other alcohol gel recipes that abound on the Web, it is better not to use them. Although some essential oils have many bactericidal, fungicidal and virucidal properties, they have not been shown to be effective in the fight against epidemics, and even less so in the current fight against the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The WHO insists that the document is reserved for pharmacy professionals, emphasizing that these are not harmless substances.

"The risk is handling highly flammable substances and ultimately getting a product that is irritating to the hands and not necessarily effective," says Virginie D’Enfert, a WHO member.

As for aloe vera, which is cited as the main ingredient in certain "homemade" recipes, the delegate general recalls that it is just a moisturizer. Therefore, it strongly recommends consumers to turn to commercial products, which are subject to strict standards or that they opt for traditional hand washing with soap and water.

Alcohol gel should not replace conventional hand washing

Remember that "conventional" handwashing with soap and water is recommended as soon as a drinking water point is available. Because careful handwashing with soapy water removes the vast majority of microorganisms, accentuating the slippery properties of our own skin, where hydroalcoholic gel kills pathogens but leaves them on the skin. We should add that the use of excess alcohol-based solutions could favor the appearance and proliferation of resistant bacterial strains, which is not the case with soapy water.

However, in the absence of an available water point, the use of a hydroalcoholic solution is recommended, especially in collective environments (public transport, public places, etc.).

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