What if we tell you that disinfecting is largely being overdone? and sometimes with chemicals that are unnecessarily strong. home disinfecting has demonstrated little to no health benefit and the experts expressed their concerns that some of those harsh disinfectant chemicals are actually causing more health harms instead of helping our community.
Of course, there can be an adequate time and place for targeted disinfecting, for example, the presence of contagious disease in a certain location, or for people with poor/compromised immune systems
So, what do we do against the Coronavirus pandemic? And how can we face this safely? It’s simple, follow these 3 practices:
1. First, you need to find the most effective strategies to reduce the spread of the virus. We are pretty sure you heard about practicing social distancing and washing your hands is the best way to protect your health and the health of your loved ones. There are studies comparing classrooms with established handwashing protocols with those who don’t have one, and the levels of illness between the two are significantly different!
Another terrific study concluded that handwashing alone can reduce the risk of getting any gastrointestinal disease by over 30% and can also reduce the chance of respiratory illness by 20%.
Secondly, social distancing works as well because breathing in the virus emitted from a cough or a sneeze of an infected person is an unfortunately effective route of exposure. By reducing contact with those who might be sick you are reducing the chances of the virus spreading in your community (and protecting your health too).
2. Now you have to proceed to keep clean your surroundings, and water and soap will be amazingly effective at removing dirt and germs from any surface. Remember, these infectious agents are attracted to grime and dirt that accumulate on surfaces from daily use.
But how long do we need to disinfect and clean our home to protect our health? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), similar viruses like SARS and MERS spread from person-to-person within about 6 feet via respiratory droplets. So, if you have a virus and you touch a clean surface this can lead to contamination of that surface, and if you don’t have the virus and you do the same with a surface that you do not know if it has been cleaned you are taking a risk.
At the moment there are no studies that have shown that using disinfectants on surfaces at home can lower rates of illness than simply cleaning a home with water and soap. But that doesn’t mean disinfectants are useless, for example, disinfecting surfaces in operating rooms can make a huge difference but for use in homes might not make enough difference.
3. If you are going to disinfect in your home, you have to choose safer products like most of the disinfectants found in your grocery store, those contain either chlorine bleach or quaternary ammonium chlorides. Both are potent against a number of different viruses and bacteria.
Coronavirus pandemic will continue to inspire more frequent disinfecting behavior, fortunately, there are alternative disinfectant chemicals that are more effective in killing germs and other viruses without health hazard drawbacks.
Disinfectants with active ingredients such as alcohol, ethanol, isopropanol, lactic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and thymol are part of the EPA’s List of products approved for use against Coronavirus. Keep in mind that there are several other disinfecting technologies like microfiber cloths, UV disinfection, and steam cleaners that will likely never be added to this list because they aren’t pesticides under EPA reach.