After more than two years of a constant assault on our health due to the COVID-19 crisis, the world seems to be slowly getting back to its feet. Mass vaccination programmes and social distancing have helped curb the menace of the pandemic from spreading. But there is one more important practice that has aided in the apparent recovery: effective hand hygiene.
With renewed enthusiasm for handwashing with soap and water, disinfecting contact surfaces, being more conscious of our touches, and making hand sanitizers an indispensable part of our lives, hand hygiene has never been this important ever. So, now, with the apparent end of COVID in sight and beyond, where will these well-formed habits go?
The answer is an optimistic ‘Nowhere!’.
Awareness Breeds Hand Hygiene Habits
Fuelled by media campaigns and our trysts with COVID, the majority of people are now acutely aware of how important hand hygiene is to our health. An average person touches his or her face at least 2000-3000 times every day. Then, there are countless objects, things and people we come in contact with daily. This means that ensuring hand hygiene at all times is essential – pandemic or no pandemic.
While handwashing with soap has been scientifically proven to help reduce instances of respiratory and other diseases, hand sanitizers are also now the tools of choice for the majority who cannot imagine stepping out without one in their car, pocket, purse, or backpack. Moreover, hand sanitizers are not just a personal safety measure but widespread across industries, buildings and public spaces beyond just hospitals. Think of restaurants, public transport, cinema, schools, colleges, shopping malls, etc. where it is now unthinkable to have a hand sanitizer-free environment. Thanks to low hand sanitizer price and increased proliferation, good quality hand sanitizers are likely to remain highly accessible and omnipresent beyond the COVID era as well.
If history is anything to go by, then the post-COVID era will not be one where we see hand hygiene fading away from importance. Take for instance the 1918 influenza pandemic that radically transformed the global outlook on public health and led to the creation of organisations and technologies that have aided in preserving our health and hygiene in reducing the number of concerning outbreaks. A similar approach that utilises innovation will aid in ensuring the continuity of good hand hygiene beyond COVID.
One Hand of the Future: What Will Hand Hygiene of Tomorrow Look Like?
Let us take a look at some of the trends that will ensure the continuity of good hand hygiene after the COVID era:
1. More Effective and Innovative Hand Sanitizers
Breakthrough technologies in manufacturing hand sanitizers mean we are witnessing the rise of better, more effective hand sanitizers that don’t just kill germs but are completely safe and skin-friendly. In that department, the best hand sanitizer in India will be the one that is proven to provide the longest-lasting protection while being economical and safe. Just Human Hand Sanitizer, at the moment, is one such revolutionary product that promises all-day protection against a whole host of germs and bacteria – in just one use! It is the world’s first 24-hour protection sanitizer that is lightweight, environment-friendly and created with moisturizing elements that restore the suppleness of all skin types. Such high-tech sanitizers will continue to enrich our lives and pave the way for the world to move beyond use-and-throw, ineffective and chemically harsh hand sanitizers in the future.
2. Increased Emphasis on Touchless Technologies
Touch-free faucets, soap dispensers and sanitizer spraying machines in public washrooms and spaces have introduced a whole new degree of convenience and effectiveness to our hand hygiene needs. These technologies are unlikely to be disposed of beyond the pandemic and remain very much a part of our future.
3. Smart Devices for Smarter Hand Hygiene
The era of IoT, artificial intelligence and big data means a lot of everyday devices that we use are becoming smarter by the day. The same could soon be to the advantage of our hand hygiene habits. Consider intelligent soap dispensers that can scan your hands and dispense the exact amount of germ-killing soap for maximum protection. How about smart speakers figuring out our daily routine and then prompting us regularly to wash or sanitize our hands beforehand? It is not difficult to imagine such innovative devices becoming a part of our daily lives in the future.
While people might be more conscious about the need for hand hygiene, we can still expect the habits to dwindle slightly as we achieve herd immunity from COVID. This is where technology and awareness programs must continue to make proper hand hygiene and the use of only the best hand sanitizers integral. Our hands are still largely responsible for spreading 80% of all communicable diseases – which means the future of hand hygiene must only go from strength to strength beyond COVID.