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Thursday, May 06, 2021

As COVID cases make a resurgence, here’s what you need to know about disinfection  

There is no need to be obsessive about cleaning surfaces -- find out why

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
April 19, 2021 10:50:22 am
cleaning, cleaning of surface, cleaning and disinfecting, disinfection of surfaces, coronavirus infection, indian express newsSome disinfectants contain quaternary ammonium compounds which can trigger asthma. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

We once again find ourselves back at where we were about a year ago. As Covid cases soar in the country, we need to be reminded of ways in which we can keep our surroundings clean, as well as maintain personal hygiene.

Around the country, some people have aggressively gone back to cleaning and disinfecting, and while it is a good habit, one needs to understand just how much of it is enough, and when to stop as well.

“Largely, the good old-fashioned cleaning with soap/detergent and water is efficacious against COVID-19. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that regular soap and water cleaning is usually enough to wash away this virus and prevent infections. Just like how we wash our hands with soap and water, our homes can be kept clean, too,” says Dr Sudhir Gore, head, trauma and emergency, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan.

Disinfectants contain harmful chemicals

Cleaning and disinfectant products need to be used as directed. Some disinfectants contain quaternary ammonium compounds which can trigger asthma. One needs to be cautious, especially if they have kids and elderly people at home, warns the doctor.

“Bleaching can also cause respiratory, skin, and eye irritations. People should use disinfectants that include hydrogen peroxide, alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethanol), citric acid and lactic acid — but not on food items, clothes, utensils and definitely not with bare hands!”

COVID-19 spreads more from contact than surfaces

cleaning, cleaning of surface, cleaning and disinfecting, disinfection of surfaces, coronavirus infection, indian express news Effective cleaning removes germs from the surfaces, and disinfecting goes a step further. (Photo: Getty/Thinkstock)

Experts have noted that the virus spreads mainly through person-to-person contact. Effective cleaning removes germs from the surfaces, and disinfecting goes a step further. “But there is no need to be obsessive about cleaning surfaces. A recent CDC report has said there is no good evidence stating that alternative disinfection methods, like UV radiation, LED blue lights, or sanitizing tunnels really work to kill the virus. Moreover, disinfectant without proper ventilation can cause more harm to your health.

“CDC’s report mentions that fogging, fumigation, and other such theatrical performances of industrial cleanliness can easily do more harm than good. This is because fogging at the levels needed to truly nip viruses from space can make it difficult for people to breathe,” says Dr Gore.

He suggests three easy steps to clean properly and keep yourself and your family safe:

* Use soap water to properly clean surfaces.
* If you use disinfectant, read the product instructions in full, so that you know how the disinfectant works and is to be applied.
* If using harsh chemicals to deep-clean, wear a mask and protective eye gear; keep the room open to enable ventilation. Children and elderly should not enter till after four days of cleaning.
* Open the windows and doors to ventilate the space as you clean the rooms.

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