Nurses warn: not all hydroalcoholic gels protect against Covid-19

Alberto Martín

It is very important to read the labeling of the hydroalcoholic gels before buying them

* cite

No one leaves the house without the hydroalcoholic gel in their bag anymore. It is, together with the mask, a basic to maintain a correct hygiene and avoid the coronavirus. But, according to a warning from the College Nursing Organization, not all those sold on the market protect against Covid-19.

"We must remember that one of the main weapons against the virus is hand hygiene. The ideal would be to wash with water and soap, especially for the general population, but we are aware that we don't always have a sink nearby where we can do this. In those cases you should use hydroalcoholic gels, but before buying them you should consider the concentration of alcohol in it and against which microorganisms it is effective. We are concerned because citizens are buying and using some gels that do not work against the virus and their use gives them a false sense of security that could expose them to Covid-19, with the fatal consequences that this could entail," explains Florentino Pérez Raya, president of the General Council of Nursing.

Before buying any gel it is important to read its label. "We must differentiate between sanitizing gels and disinfecting gels. For a gel to be a disinfectant it must have an alcohol percentage of between 70% and 90%. Bearing in mind that SARS-CoV-2 is a virus we must buy hydrogels with a viricidal effect and very preferably that they comply with the UNE14476 regulations," stresses María Enríquez, a nurse from the General Council of Nursing.

Hand hygiene with hydrogel should be done when clean water and soap are not available, after touching any surface that may be contaminated either inside the home or in the street - the park, shared public or private transport, shops... - and frequently at meetings, especially when there are no people living together. "The number of infections does not stop and, as health workers who have been on the front line of the pandemic, we do not want a repeat of the crisis we have experienced in recent months. For this reason, we want to remember that following health recommendations can prevent outbreaks," says Florentino Pérez Raya, president of the General Council of Nursing.

Special care must be taken when applying these gels and avoid applying them to sensitive or damaged areas of the skin or mucous membranes. In addition, it must be remembered that they are characterized by a high percentage of ethanol and are therefore flammable, so they must be kept away from heat sources such as: open flames, sparks or any source of ignition; and avoid smoking immediately after use or in places where they are stored.