Massive use of hand sanitizer during coronavirus could cause superbug ‘armageddon’


The massive use of hand gels during the coronavirus pandemic could cause a superbug ‘armageddon situation’, an expert has warned.Dr Andrew Kemp, head of the scientific advisory board of the British Institute of Cleaning Science, said overuse of alcohol-based hand gels would allow other bacteria and viruses on our hands to develop immunity to it.

People around the world have been urged to use disinfectants throughout the pandemic, applying them for months to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

However, Dr Kemp told the Daily Express that using hand gels should be a short-term solution only or risk potentially catastrophic consequences.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak uses hand sanitizer gel upon arrival at Jobcentre Plus in Barking

The Lincoln University scholar said the best way to fight bacteria and viruses is to simply wash your hands regularly.

“Hand gels should only be used as a last resort and as a short-term temporary measure or as a stopgap solution if soap and water are not available,” he explained.

“At this time, there is no published evidence that alcohol freezes have killed Covid-19 itself.

“Even if they killed 99.9% of all bacteria, there may be over a million bacteria on your hands at any one time, leaving 10,000 alive after disinfection.

Dr Kemp said thousands of bacteria could stay alive on your hands after using sanitizer

“Recent research shows that surviving insects that are not killed by alcohol gels are themselves very dangerous pathogens and can increase in numbers.

“This means that our regular use of gels could ultimately cause us more harm than good. ”

The work has been published in the American Journal of Biomedical Science and Research and will be presented at a leading superbug conference in Amsterdam in October.

It is likely to alarm public health officials who advocate widespread use of gels to fight the spread of the disease.

The World Organization recommends washing hands with soap to protect against Covid-19 and has said there is no definitive evidence that excessive use of disinfectant can lead to superbugs.

The government’s health ministry advises washing hands for 20 seconds “with soap and water or hand sanitizer.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said: “The most effective way to prevent the spread of this virus is to remain vigilant, follow the rules of social distancing, wash your hands regularly and cover your face. in closed public spaces. ”

Professor Jorgan Serup, a leading skin expert at Bispebjerg University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark, and chairman of the Danish Atopic Eczema Association also said that alcohol can damage children’s hands .


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