Why your hand sanitiser may not protect you from Coronavirus

The World is watching with increasing concern as a new strain of Coronavirus spreads from a seafood market located in Wuhan City in China, so far killing 17 people and infecting a further 570. The Lunar new year celebrations mean that millions of people return back to their hometowns to celebrate. Three cities in China are now on lock down with the Chinese authorities issuing travel restrictions affecting millions of people. 

Whilst the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises the public to use an alcohol-based hand rub,  the average antibacterial hand gel found in local supermarkets, pharmacies or airports may not be effective against viruses. Consumers should therefore check before purchase that any hand sanitiser has specific efficacy against enveloped viruses to make sure that they are well protected.

What to look for;

  • Is the product labelled as ‘cleansing hand gel’? Cosmetic hand gels which don’t make any antibacterial claims are formulated to clean and leave hands fragranced, but not kill germs 
  • Check for specific claims of ‘antiviral’ as an antibacterial hand sanitiser will not necessarily be effective against viruses even if it kills bacteria
  • Select a product which openly states that it has been tested to EN 14476, the European standard test which evaluates the antiviral efficacy of biocidal products – some hand foam sanitisers state efficacy against viruses without meeting the requirements of this test

The Boots antiviral hand foam, powered by Byotrol technology, has been tested to European Standard EN 14476 against Vaccinia virus, which is considered the benchmark enveloped virus and is therefore considered effective against all enveloped viruses including strains of Coronavirus in 30 seconds.

As well as using an effective antiviral hand sanitiser and practising good hand hygiene, travellers heading to China for Lunar new year celebrations are advised to avoid markets with live or dead animals, minimise physical contact and not to consume undercooked meat or shellfish. If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.

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