In our family, we do not subscribe to using disinfectants, or ‘anti-microbial’ products in our day to day lives. We are all for a bit of dirt!
We observe basic hygiene of washing hands before food, and scrubbing fingernails.
However, we put travelling with kids into a different bracket, as there is a higher volume of dirty surfaces and objects they may end up touching, and often long periods between ready access to wash facilities.
Because one of the easiest ways to transmit infection is by consuming food without washing our hands beforehand, we choose to use a hand sanitiser on our travels.
Global health authorities such as the World Health Organisation recommend always washing our hands with soap and water before preparing or eating food, in order to reduce the likelihood of transmitting various microbes that can cause gastroenteritis.
But in the absence of soap and water, certain types of hand sanitiser products are an adequate alternative.
Many products are marketed to ‘sanitise’ hands, but which ones actually work?
~ According to the American Centers For Disease Control, for hand sanitisers to work effectively, they must contain an alcohol content of at least 60-90%. If they contain less than 60% alcohol, or no alcohol at all, even products marketed as “hand sanitisers” may be ineffective at killing germs.
~ It's also important to realise that even high-alcohol products don't kill all types of germs. It's essential that enough of the product is applied to the hands correctly (according to the product's instructions), and that it is left on the skin to dry, not be wiped off.
Remember to rub the gel in-between the fingers and around the nails, as these areas might otherwise be missed.
Supervising children as they apply the sanitiser gel ensures that it's more likely to work.
~ Sanitisers are also less likely to work effectively if kids' hands are visibly dirty, or greasy. Using a wet-wipe or tissue to remove any visible dirt or grease, and then applying sanitiser afterwards, means that it's more likely to kill germs as it's supposed to.
NATURAL HAND SANITISER
Most pharmacies carry a range of hand sanitiser brands, but these products will often include extra moisturising agents, as alcohol can be drying when applied to skin. They may also contain things like synthetic fragrance, and chemical antiseptics.
We personally use Dr Bronner’s. It is an organic skin care company, with high ethical standards. They produce a safe, certified-organic “Lavender Hand Sanitiser”, which contains 62% alcohol, moisturising glycerin, and lavender essential oil, which we consider an ideal natural option for children's sensitive hands.
It is available in many health food stores, and on line.
** Healthy Kids Travel has no affiliation to this product.
You can check it out here!
Do you use hand sanitiser when travelling? We would love to hear your thoughts on this topic below.
Happy, Healthy Travels!