We need to be even more diligent about understanding the importance of washing our hands as the country begins to reopen.
This week marks the first step in the government's 'roadmap' plan to ease Ireland out of lockdown. Alongside the reopening hairdressers and barbers, you are now allowed to meet up with friends from a maximum of three households to socialise outdoors or in gardens; intercounty travel is now permitted; you can click and collect in-store or shop by appointment; 50 people can attend a wedding service; galleries, libraries and museums are permitted to reopen and adult sports training also resumes.
Hope is here.
However, it's important to remember that just because there's been a slight change in the rules, it doesn't mean that COVID-19 has gone away. It is still all of our responsibility to continue to social distance, wear a mask or face covering when on public transport, in indoor settings, when staying 2 metres apart from people is difficult and most importantly when visiting anyone who is at high risk of coronavirus and we must continue to wash our hands.
As summer is setting up to be one spent predominately outdoors, washing our hands regularly could be challenging. Unlike in supermarkets and salons, there isn't hand sanitising stations in most parks which is why it's important to always carry a bottle with you. Your new summer checklist should be: mask, phone, wallet, keys and hand sanitiser.
But instead of using just any old bottle you stumble on, you should be using a hand sanitiser that effectively disinfects and one that won't destroy your skin. "But those two factors can't co-exist!", we hear you cry. Well, that was the case – until now.
French skincare brand BIODERMA has teamed up with its parent company, NAOS to launch BIODERMA Biphase Lipo Alcoolique aka a dermatological innovation that works to eliminate 99.9% of viruses, such as Coronavirus, and replenishes the skin’s lipids. The first-ever product of its kind, BIODERMA Biphase Lipo Alcoolique is a dual-action hand care product that works to kill viruses and replenish the skin in one single step. Formulated with shea oil and squalane, the two ingredients work together for a long-lasting reinforcement of the skin barrier leaving you with softer skin and no breakages.
We caught up with Selene Daly, Dermatology Nurse Specialist in Sligo University Hospital to learn the importance of hand hygiene – even after lockdown.
why is hand hygiene still so important?
"Hands are the main mode of transmitting bacteria and viruses which can make us feel ill or unwell," tells Daly. "Therefore, hand hygiene is important in preventing disease. In healthcare, we talk about breaking the chain of infection. This refers to the fact that bacteria and viruses can linger on surfaces and hands. Performing hand hygiene can kill bacteria and viruses, therefore breaking the chain."
How do you know a hand sanitiser is effective against covid-19?
"A hand disinfectant must contain at 60% alcohol to be deemed effective against COVID-19," she explains. "And must be in contact with the hands for at least 60 seconds."
Do all hand hygiene products work the same?
"Not all products work in the same way. For example, soap will cover the Covid-19 virus with a greasy film and works when the hands are washed for at least 20 seconds," tells Daly. "Alcohol-based rubs are effective when covered with gel and kills bacteria and viruses on contact after 60 seconds."
What makes the BIODERMA Biphase Lipo Alcoolique different from other hand hygiene products on the market?
"Biphase Lipo Alcoolique is a powerfully different dual-action hand care product," she says. "It's powerful enough to eliminate 99.9% of viruses and bacteria as it contains 90% alcohol yet it does so without altering the skin's barrier. It also contains 10% shea oil and squalane which combines to protect the hands against dryness."
How effective is it in protecting against covid-19?
"This product has been laboratory tested and is 99% effective against COVID-19," tells Daly.
What is it about using regular hand sanitiser that damages our skin so much?
"Alcohol and soap, while being effective against viruses and bacteria, can strip the skin of its natural oils and cause dryness and irritation," explains Daly. "While it is vital that we use hand hygiene in the fight against COVID-19, it is important that we maintain our skin's barrier to prevent inflammation and infection."
How do you use Biphase Lipo alcoolique?
"Firstly, shake the product before use to combine the oil and the alcohol. Next, spray to fill the palm of your hand which is approximately 3mls and rub for 30 seconds," advises Daly. "When using the product, you will feel the hydrating benefits instantly."
How regularly should you be using regular hand disinfectants?
"During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital to ensure that we decontaminate our hands regularly. Think about this whenever you enter or exit a building or anytime you have contact with other people or touch surfaces," she says.
What can you do if your hands are already destroyed from using hand sanitisers regularly?
"Firstly, swap out your hand sanitiser for BIODERMA Biphase Lipo. Secondly, I recommend regularly using a hand cream on irritated hands to rebuild the damaged skin barrier," advises Daly. "A top tip is to invest in some cotton gloves. At night time apply hand cream and cover with the gloves. This gives the chance for the repairing to take place while you sleep. When you wake, you will find your skin hydrated and repaired."
when COVID-19 is all over, should we continue to use hand sanitisers regularly?
"I absolutely believe that we must continue to practice good hand hygiene," opines Daly. "This is not possible when we are out and about with no access to sinks and soap. Alcohol sanitisers not only address COVID-19 but a host of other viruses and bacteria that can make us ill."
What's more, 100% of profits made by the sales of this product will be donated to foundations, associations and NGOs working to prevent epidemics, for the duration of the pandemic. BIODERMA’s Biphase Lipo Alcoolique is priced at €8.80 and is available to purchase from independent pharmacies nationwide or online from bioderma.ie.
Main image by Jane Palash on Unsplash