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Alcohol and COVID-19: What A Mistake!

Alcohol is the most common recreational drink employed by people all around the world. Speaking in terms of Chemistry, it is the two-carbon molecule named Ethanol (or ethyl alcohol), which mesmerizes people by its trippy effects.

However, we all are aware of the fact that the family of alcohol finds its use in numerous fields and not just recreation. 

Alcohol consumpion

The most conspicuous of all is the Methylated spirit, or better called Denatured Alcohol. It is basically Ethanol, with additives like Methanol or Pyridine, to make it poisonous and profoundly unfit for human consumption.

For differentiation, color is also added in it; this ensures that fools refrain from drinking this liquid. It is made unpalatable by adding Denatonium Benzoate.

Your body will metabolize the ingestion of such a liquid in such a way that it will lead to the formation of two very toxic compounds, namely formaldehyde and formic acid.

The subsequent effects are as scary as their names and can create havoc in your body system; acidosis, blindness, and fatality lie in the spectrum of its deleterious effects. 

Denatured alcohol mostly finds its use when it comes to inanimate objects. Alcohol has germicidal properties, precipitates proteins and disrupts cell membrane (however, it isn’t sporicidal). Owing to these features, alcohol has found its use in medicine.

Cleaning Agent

Known to have antibacterial properties, methylated spirits acts as an excellent cleaning agent. Used on wood, plastic, and glass, denatured alcohol of a high concentration is potent enough in killing the pathogens attached over these surfaces.

Medical Disinfectant

Hospital surfaces and equipments harbor numerous types of bacteria. As antibacterial in nature, denatured alcohol ensures that there are proper disinfection and cleaning of such kinds of stuff.

Rubbing Alcohol

When it comes to topical application, the use of denatured alcohol is not proffered. With the concentration reduced to around 65-70%, this type of surgical spirit consists of ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol.

Hand Sanitizers

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They are those liquid or gel formulations which may or may not be alcohol-based. Alcohol-based is the only one that has a place in the healthcare setting. 

In the wake of the Corona Virus (called SARS-CoV-2) outbreak, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers has tremendously increased.

One crucial fact to be noted here is that the concentration of alcohol should be at least 60% to be efficient. With the soaring demand for sanitizers because of the growing vigilance for CoViD 19, the frequency of its disappearance from the market latter is at the hike.

This has encouraged people to make their own sanitizers. Coupled with ignorance and myths, people have indulged themselves in using denatured alcohol as an ingredient for their homemade sanitizer.

Not only this, but the trend of sanitizer usage has also grown to the extent that people are forsaking the prime importance of handwashing. 

The professionally made alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain isopropyl alcohol, Ethanol (ethyl alcohol), or n-propanol.

With the internet and social media websites flooding with the recipe of homemade sanitizers, people are urged not to use this denatured alcohol in the making of the same.

As you are aware that denatured alcohol is a solution of ethyl alcohol and methyl alcohol; the presence of the former is quite acceptable, but the latter is highly and undoubtedly hazardous. When absorbed in the skin, it can cause irritation and dermatitis.

Not only this, but accidental consumption of this solution will also make your body and mind go crazy. Needless to say, where the Coronavirus is creating severe conditions making people suffer from acute respiratory and kidney diseases, cases of methanol poisoning can be overlooked and surpassed by the highly busy medical fraternity.

Even after this understanding, if you wish to make your sanitizer, please ensure that you use only isopropyl alcohol or Ethanol, and mix it with Aloe Vera gel along with essential oils for the soothing properties. A loophole in this will be the calibration of the appropriate and required percentage of alcohol.

The effectiveness of home-based sanitizers will be less in comparison to that which are commercially available.

Washing Hands accounts for the best prevention

As it is said, prevention is better than cure.

All the scientific, research and health institutes have recommended that washing hands with warm water and soap is the best way and principal way to keep Corona Virus away.

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The detergent effect of the soap and warm water decreases the number of microbes residing on our hands. Along with this, ensure that there is minimal touching of eyes, nose, and mouth; if there’s an utter need, then make sure that you wash your hands in the first place.

The technique of washing hands and nails should be proper, and the duration should be of 20 seconds.

The frequency of handwashing should be increased; make it a habit of washing your hands after touching any object or surface.

For self-evident reasons owing to hygiene, always and always scrub your hands after sneezing and coughing to make sure that your hands get rid of the contaminated mucous. 

The most salient point to hold on is that the use of hand sanitizers is advocated only when there’s no instant availability of water and soap.

As it is quite evident that the world is sinking in the threat of this deadly disease COVID-19, keeping yourself clean and making personal hygiene the top priority can ‘flatten the curve.’