During the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, various products show up and then claim themselves have an effective and unique function against microbes such as viruses, bacteria, or molds. Facing all these products, the problem first coming into our head maybe is “Are these products really as good as their advertisement or it just a sales talk?”. To clarify this question and purchase the product with confidence, we only need to understand the meaning of some terms wrote on the label.
Degermation, Antibacterial, and Sterilization have their meaning respectively
First of all, we need to understand clearly the meaning of each of them. “Degermation” is to reduce the number of microbes, and “antibacterial” is to inhibit the growth or reproduction of microbes, and “Sterilization” is to eliminate microbes. Common products claiming degermation include alcohol and bath products. Using these kinds of products can remove microbes with antibacterial effects, and the microbes that remain surviving will keep growing and reproducing when the antibacterial substances are no longer work or disappear. On the other hand, there are also many antibacterial products in the market, such as skin care products, cutting boards, and tissue. These products aim to maintain the quality of goods and the safety of consumers by inhibiting the growth of microbes. The last one is sterilization products which are often using in medical and cosmetic. These products can eliminate all microbes while correctly using them.
Furthermore, we can differentiate and choose them by “what kind of problem needed to be solved?”. For example, some degermation products claim that they can take away 99% bacteria or other microbes from your skins. But in fact, it can reach the same result while washing with a bar of soap and water.
Conclusively, not every kind of product can solve your problem. Remember to evaluate before buying and choosing the right ones which meet the requirement.
What is the difference between disinfection and sterilization for preventing virus infection?
Disinfection is to reduce the number of microbes to the level of safe or not impacting. In other words, the environment that had been disinfected still may have microbes such as bacteria and fungi, but the number of them is not sufficient for causing harmful effects to human health. Both washing hands with alcohol and cleaning items with bleach are examples of it. Compared with disinfection, sterilization is more common seem in medical or experiment use. The aim of it is to make sure that there is no microbe existing in the environment. An example of this kind of situation is the instrument or consumable using in medical treatment to prevent the pathogen infection during the process.
After all, disinfect the environment and the body properly is enough for preventing virus infection.
Is hand sanitizer really effective?
The demand for hand sanitizer is much more than before due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the water shortage problem.
The hand sanitizer sold in the market can be divided into alcohol-containing and alcohol-not containing. The latter one is not as common as the former one because it is made for individuals with alcohol intolerance. Instead of using alcohol, these kinds of sanitizer use some ingredients, antibiotics for example, which may also be found in the toothpaste or soap, to have the same effect of disinfection. Before buying such products, the possible impact may bring from those ingredients should be considered.
Furthermore, the alcohol one is only effective to the virus with envelope such as coronavirus, which means it is ineffective to enterovirus, rotavirus, and norovirus which have no envelope. In addition, some bacteria able to produce the endospore are also tolerant to alcohol one.
Finally, the reminding should be noticed is that killing all microbes is not necessary because all of them have their roles in the environment, which may be related to the ecological cycles or the human metabolism maintain.