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Should Hand Sanitiser be used in Schools?

Hand sanitizer and kids together in the same statement have always drawn much controversy with regards to safety of kids when using a hand sanitizer and the effectiveness of itself. Most of the controversy erupts from misconceptions and misguided people. However there are some genuine concerns that need to be addressed. Before a call can be made on whether hand sanitizer should be used in schools.

Starting off with the product itself, alcohol-based sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol is the standard to be maintained. While alcohol free hand sanitizers are available and effective, alcohol-based ones are best preferred given that they don’t leave any chance for the germs to grow resistant to it. Now that we have cleared out the product’s effectiveness which is almost 100% and known to kill most harmful germs, comes the question of sanitizer in schools.

Sanitizers for most purposes are perfectly safe and effective, however given its high alcohol content it may become a hazard in the hands of an unattended child. There have been numerous cases of children ingesting the sanitiser and being poisoned after being left unattended. This says more about parents than it does about the product. Most of it comes with warning labels to be kept away from children and its hazards.

While schools are in desperate need of sanitisers being used in the premise, the chances of kids coming across bottles lying around and ingesting it are also high. Strict precautions, measures and guidelines are required if sanitisers are to be introduced in schools for hand hygiene measures. Internationally, many schools have adopted this method of hand hygiene and is doing fairly well to keep the number of kids falling sick in control. When it comes to India however, implementing it is not so easy given the sheer number of schools students and money involved.

Keeping in mind the mortality rate and the number of small kids falling sick, using sanitisers might not be that bad an idea if a way around can be found for the logistical and safety issues. Most schools across India lack basic amenities which means that hygiene takes a back seat so the future of sanitisers in schools is a rather distant dream as of now.

The absolute answer to whether sanitisers should be used in schools, only time will tell!

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