As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to rage on, it is tempting to build an arsenal of the strongest disinfectants to keep your home and loved ones safe.
While there is no harm in amping up our defences against the virus by upping the cleanliness and daily hygiene, dousing yourself in disinfectant is not really the way to go about it!
"With Coronavirus tenaciously living among us, people have increased the use of disinfectants to stem the spread of the virus at home. People have resorted to washing fruits and vegetables with bleach and sanitisers, have applied household cleaning or disinfectant products to bare skin and intentionally inhaled or ingested disinfectants. But these products contain chemicals that may be harmful to your health, especially, if it not used appropriately," says Dr Sudhir Gore, Head of Trauma and Emergency, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.
Dr Gore adds that largely, the good old-fashioned cleaning with soap or detergent and water is efficacious against Covid-19. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that regular soap and water cleaning is usually enough to wash away this virus and prevent infections. Just the way we wash our hands with soap and water, our homes can be kept clean in the same manner.
Here's why over-disinfecting can harm you:
Disinfectants contain harmful chemicals
Cleaning and disinfectant products need to be utilized as directed. Dr Gore says, "Some disinfectants contain quaternary ammonium compounds which can trigger Asthma. It is, therefore, necessary to be cautious, especially if we have kids and elderly people at home. Bleaching can also cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritations. People should use disinfectants that include Hydrogen Peroxide, Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol or Ethanol), Citric Acid and Lactic Acid - but not on food items, clothes, utensils and definitely not with bare hands!"
Covid-19 spreads more from contact than surfaces
Most experts have time and again noted that the virus spreads mainly through person-to-person contact. He says, "Effective cleaning removes germs from surfaces and disinfecting goes a step further, by killing them on the spot. But there is no need to be obsessive about cleaning surfaces. A recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention, US report said that there is no good evidence stating alternative disinfection methods, like UV radiation, LED blue lights, or sanitizing tunnels really work to kill the virus."
Moreover, disinfectant without proper ventilation can cause more harm to your health than being useful. CDC’s report mentions that fogging, fumigation, and other such theatrical performances of industrial cleanliness can easily do more harm than good when it comes to human health. This also because fogging at the levels needed to truly nip viruses from space, can make it difficult for people to breathe.
Instead, continue cleansing your personal spaces safely with these 3 easy steps and keep yourself and your family safe:
Use soap water to properly clean surfaces.
If you use disinfectant, read the product instructions in full, so that you know how the disinfectant works and is to be applied.
If using harsh chemicals to deep clean, wear a mask and protective eye gear; keep this room open to enable ventilation. Children and elderly should not enter this room till after 4 days of deep cleaning
Open the windows and doors to ventilate the space as you clean the rooms
He adds, "Above all, it's more important to worry about wearing a mask in public and avoiding the person-to-person spread of Covid-19 through close contact. Stay home, stay clean and stay safe!"