Frequent use of sanitizers can be harmful: Doctors

Published on December 10, 2020 by

Excessive use of sanitizers can increase antimicrobial resistance and leave many people with several skin-related side effects. 

Mumbai: Overusing sanitisers can cause ‘antimicrobial resistance’, which is found in microbes that have evolved over a period. If sanitisers are used in large quantities they will not affect the bacteria, making it resistant to antibiotics.

Frequent use of such alcohol-based products is causing several side effects on the skin. According to dermatologists, the common symptoms of excessive usage are dryness, itching, peeling-off of skin and scaliness. In some extreme cases, it can lead to skin conditions such as Xerosis and an allergic reaction. 

Doctors say that people have been overusing sanitizers due to easy availability and fear of contracting the virus. This in turn has spiked up the sales of sanitisers during the pandemic.

Priya Dhadda, who works at Oracle Financial Services said, “The fear of Covid-19 was so strong that the only helpful thing to minimise the fear was sanitizers. But one thing that I noticed was my skin had started to turn very dry and that it started peeling off. “

Paranoia around the virus 

One big reason for the excessive use of sanitizers is that they are easily available and have been made mandatory by the government-issued SOPS ( Standard Operating Procedures) to use in all public places. Bottles and sprays of sanitizers can be found in malls, on every restaurant table, at small eateries and now sachets are even attached with home delivery packets. 

According to dermatologist Mohammad Asif who consults at Cara Clinic, people have been using sanitizers out of fear. They think of it as a preventive measure and that it is unavoidable with no alternative in sight. However, he adds that its frequent use is doing more harm than good.

Microbiology experts from AIIMS estimated that by 2050, about 10 million human lives could be at risk if drug resistance is not managed. To tackle the problem at hand, Dr Mohammad Asif recommends the use of mild soaps and non-alcohol based sanitizers. “Soap and water should be your first line of defence,” he added. 




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