Coping With COVID-19: The Craze For Disinfectants

Coping With COVID-19: The Craze For Disinfectants


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As the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic seems to persist without a vaccine, Filipinos are relying on disinfectants for an extra layer of protection against the virus.

One of these is isopropyl alcohol, which has been a necessity in every household or office.

According to the World Health Organization, most alcohol-based hand antiseptics contain either ethanol, isopropanol or n-propanol, or a combination of two of these products.

It added that the antimicrobial activity of alcohols results from their ability to denature proteins, with alcohol solutions containing 60 to 80 percent alcohol are most effective, with higher concentrations being less potent.

Contrary to popular belief, a higher percentage of alcohol does not equate to more effective disinfection of one’s skin or surfaces.

Studies showed that 99-percent isopropyl alcohol evaporates quickly which means it cannot penetrate a bacteria’s cell walls and kill it completely.

Meanwhile, 70-percent isopropyl alcohol solutions are able to penetrate a microorganism’s cell wall more completely as the presence of water slows its evaporation. This results in increased surface contact time and better coagulation of proteins which kills a microorganism.

For 42-year-old Walter Lopez from Malabon, he never leaves the house without this “life-saving fluid” in his stuff and has become a part of his grocery list.

“I always want it handy and accessible to disinfect my hands,” he said in Filipino.

Despite having ample stocks at hand, Lopez said he will buy rubbing alcohol every time he has the chance, adding that the isopropyl alcohol, at this time, is the best defense against Covid-19.

“Having that stuff around ensures me that I have something to protect myself and family against this virus,” Walter said.

Even at home, he always has a small bottle in his pocket to be on the safe side.

And when asked on what particular size of isopropyl alcohol he buys when out for groceries, Lopez said he buys the biggest available in the store.

For Lopez, this fixation on isopropyl alcohol during the Covid-19 pandemic stemmed from the need to have himself protected and prevent Covid-19 from taking wing among his family.

“If I would not be careful, there is a good chance that I might bring home the virus and spread it among my kids and other members of my family,” Walter said.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Mikee Soliven, of Barangay Niugan, Malabon, also shares Lopez’s views on isopropyl alcohol, adding that she is using it as a means of preventing Covid-19 infection in her family.

She added that she buys at least two liters of isopropyl alcohol a month just to be on the safe side.

Mikee also said she is never comfortable going out doing her errands without a small bottle in her pocket.

‘We are using isopropyl alcohol as means to prevent the virus from spreading and for disinfection,” she added in Filipino.

Meanwhile, 42-year-old Katherine Nepomuceno, also of Barangay Niugan, said she feels very vulnerable going outside without any mini-bottles of isopropyl alcohol in her bag or pocket.

“For now, it (isopropyl alcohol) is very essential and I feel paranoid without one handy,” she added.

She added that for as long as the pandemic is here, the reliance on isopropyl alcohol as a disinfectant will stay. (PNA)

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