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How Dangerous It Is Using Hand Sanitizer Everyday? What's The Effect?

It's both easy and efficient to use a hand sanitizer — but there are several downsides to slather it on. Hand sanitizer has been a must-have

How Dangerous It Is Using Hand Sanitizer Everyday? What's The Effect?

It's both easy and efficient to use a hand sanitizer — but there are several downsides to slather it on. Hand sanitizer has been a must-have in the COVID-19 era. A squirt of hand sanitizer obliterates pathogens — like the novel coronavirus — upon touch while you are having groceries or at the post office, without access to soap and water.

"Beer in the hand sanitizer breaks down the bacterial wall and kills the contents," describes Soma Mandal, MD, an internist at Berkeley Heights Summit Medical Clinic, New Jersey.

Not only is it fast and reliable, but it's a very handy hand sanitizer — you can easily store it in your purse, handbag, or glove compartment. But, given these benefits, living in a sanitizer-saturated environment has some less than optimal consequences, from dry hands to, unfortunately, weakened immunity. Here's a closer look at some possible effects of repeated use of the hand sanitizer.

It Could Make You More Diarrhea-Prone

It can alter your microbiome by using a hand sanitizer, making you more vulnerable to bacteria that can irritate your GI tract. Your microbiome is an ecosystem of microorganisms that, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, live in your gut, mouth, and nose and on your skin, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It plays a significant part in keeping you safe, preventing infection, and preventing harmful bacteria.

"The hands are a vital vector for transmitting microorganisms between humans, pets, inanimate objects, and our environments," according to a review in the Journal of Dermatological Science in July 2015.

Although the hand sanitizer destroys the worst bacteria, it wipes out the good guy too.
"When you kill healthy bacteria colonies on your hands, it also kills your gut microbiota, which feeds the bacteria on your skin," says Mahboobeh Mahdavinia, MD, Ph.D., Rush University's associate professor of allergy and immunology. "This way changing your microbiota weakens your immune system."
Over time, this may make you exposed to bacteria that can irritate your gastrointestinal tract and cause tummy problems. "By drinking yogurt, taking a daily probiotic and spending time in nature — like gardening or hiking — you can improve the good bacteria in your body," Dr. Mahdavinia says.

And rest assured: it will not have a lasting effect on your immune system to clean your hands. "The bacteria start recolonizing just hours after using a sanitizer," Dr. Mahdavinia says.

It Does Not Get The Job Done Always And Dry Your Hands

It Does Not Get The Job Done Always And Dry Your Hands

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), hand sanitizer does not annihilate the diarrhea-causing pathogens Clostridium difficile (C. diff), norovirus, and Cryptosporidium.

And although it may eliminate germs from slightly soiled hands, the CDC maintains that if your mitts are super dirty or greasy (think: after gardening, eating ribs or cleaning the gutters, the sanitizer doesn't hold a candle to soap and water). "Hand sanitizer does not extract food particles or visible dirt," says Dr. Mandal.

Hand sanitizers can not eliminate harmful chemicals per CDC, such as pesticides. "I promote the use of hand sanitizers only in a hospital or clinical setting, or as a solution between hand washings," says Dr. Mandal.
Quick Tip
Use soap and water to wash your hands, just avoid the antibacterial soap that's not needed when you're in a hospital or clinic, says Dr. Mandal. It can dry out your hands Using a moisturizer after applying hand sanitizer to counter dry hands. The sanitizer bottle will turn your palms into the Sahara.

"Alcohol removes moisture from your skin and can lead to dryness, cracking, and even eczema with regular use — especially in children because their skin is so sensitive," Dr. Mahdavinia says. Hand sanitizer is more harmful to the skin barrier than intensive soap and water washing, says Dr. Mandal. "Irritation triggers the alcohol," she adds. "Raw, torn skin makes you more vulnerable to infection."
The fix: "Apply moisturizer to seal the hydration into your skin after using a hand sanitizer," says Dr. Mahdavinia. She suggests hypoallergenic products that are strong enough to create a sturdy skin barrier, including Cetaphil, Eucerin, or Vaseline, for example.

It Can Damage Your Baby's Immune System

In the first year of life, an infant's immune system develops. A popular scientific theory called the "hygiene hypothesis" suggests that exposure to pathogens and bacteria is important to help infants develop healthy, well-functioning immune systems.

"The hygiene theory suggests that the immune system of a newborn baby needs to be trained so that it can operate correctly during infancy and the rest of life," the U.S. says. Food and Drug Authority (FDA).

In an area that is too sterile, the theory is that babies do not get "the requisite exposure to germs required to educate the immune system so that it can learn how to launch its defensive responses to infectious species," according to the FDA. Know, the hygiene hypothesis is a theory that is still being explored at the Cleveland Clinic — that is, you will try to uphold healthy hygiene habits.

"If you drive around a shopping cart, you need to clean your hands before handling your baby but wash your hands instead of using a hand sanitizer if possible," says Dr. Mahdavinia. "Because a microbiome for an infant is still developing, it can destroy the good germs on their skin by touching them when you have alcohol or Lysol residue on your hands."

To avoid the spread of the novel coronavirus, being super sanitary is important, but thankfully there are research-sanctioned ways to mitigate the possible ill effects of over-hygiene on your child's microbiome. Breastfeeding, for example, helps improve the gut microbiota of an infant according to a report reported in JAMA Pediatrics in July 2017.

Some Sanitizers Are Healthier Relative To Others

Select one with ethanol (aka ethyl alcohol) as the active ingredient next time you 're shopping for a sanitizer. Opt for at least 60 percent alcohol hand sanitizers per CDC.
"The body will break down ethanol, so it won't have a harmful effect even though you unintentionally consume small quantities," says Dr. Mahdavinia. "Other additives, such as isopropyl alcohol, that is commonly added to ethanol, may be toxic if ingested," or if it is absorbed through the skin. Isopropyl alcohol, if sprayed on clothing and surfaces, may also cause harm.

So, How Horrible Is The Use Of Hand Sanitizer All The Time Actually?

Squirting on a sanitizer is not optimal, but the dangers outweigh the advantages of battling the novel coronavirus.

"We have to be extremely careful before we have a virus antidote," says Dr. Mahdavinia. "In my car, and in every bag, I have a hand sanitizer."

Though Dr. Mahdavinia relies on the sanitizer while she's out and about, she washes her hands with soap and water for 25 seconds as soon as she gets home. She doesn't pull out another hand sanitizer until she leaves the building. "It's not a pleasant trade-off, so we've got to bear the consequences for now," she says.

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It's both easy and efficient to use a hand sanitizer — but there are several downsides to slather it on. Hand sanitizer has been a must-have
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