Since the outbreak of WHO declared pandemic, coronavirus (COVID-19), a much-expected panic has emerged amongst the human population worldwide and that is making people do unexpected and believe the most unbelievable things. In a bid to survive and not fall prey to the deadly coronavirus, people are stocking up hand sanitizers and masks in their houses. And, this has led to a shortage of these commodities. Also, their high demand has led to a huge increase in their prices too.Also Read - Amid Coronavirus Scare, Italians in Lockdown Sing 'Hug Me' From Their Balconies | Watch

According to health officials, the best way to prevent yourself from being infected with COVID-19 is by maintaining good hygiene. Keep cleaning your hands as much as you can and avoid touching your face if not necessary. Also, it has been conveyed that using an alcohol-based sanitizer can be of good help. This is what has led to a shortage of hand sanitizers in the market. Well, do you think hand sanitizers are more effective than washing your hands with a good soap? Let’s find out what doctors have to say about it. Also Read - Alia Bhatt's 'Save Water' Reminder Amid Coronavirus Precautions is Global Advice of The Hour!

We talked to Dr. Rahul Tambe, Senior Consultant, Internal Medicine, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital to clear some common doubts in the general population about the effectiveness of hand sanitizers, use of masks, and precautions to take while using a mask. Here is what he had to say: Also Read - Pakistan Responds to PM Modi's Appeal; Says Ready to Participate in Coronavirus Video Conference

  • How effective hand sanitizers are?

“Hand sanitizers with at-least 60 per cent alcohol are effective as long as you cover all surfaces of both the palms and rub them together. Considering the recent shortage of hand sanitizers, one can also use a doctor’s spirit or aftershave mixed with water for similar effects. High alcohol content helps to break the protective shell of the virus and kills it”, says Dr. Tambe

  • Are hand sanitizers more effective than simple hand washing?

According to Dr. Tambe, “It may sound surprising but the protective shell of coronavirus falls apart when one washes his hands properly with soap and water for a good 20 seconds. The only thing to ensure is to not use a towel in public washrooms since the cloth can possibly be infected. Ideally, use a hand dryer after washing hands, since dry skin is less hospitable for the virus. If a dryer is not available, use disposable paper tissues and throw them in closed dust bins.”

  • How important it is to wear masks?

“Precaution is better than cure, but in Delhi, Covid-19 has not yet spread to such an alarming extent that everyone, including the general public, needs to wear a mask. Due to excellent government measures, all possible infected persons are being quarantined or isolated from the general public so there is very little chance that you may come across a COVID-19 patient. However, if you are meeting anyone with a history of travel to coronavirus infected region, or visiting a hospital or have cough cold and viral fever, you should wear a simple surgical mask to prevent itself. N95 masks are strictly advised to be used by COVID-19 patients and people coming in contact with them such as doctors or healthcare workers”, says Dr. Tambe.

  • Precautions to take while wearing a mask

Dr. Tambe says, “As per the World Health Organisation, the mask is effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. If your hands are infected, it’s likely that you will infect the mask, thus never touch the front side of the mask. You must dispose of the mask properly in a closed bin and periodically (6-7 hours) since the effectiveness of the surgical mask only lasts for a limited period. Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.”

Notably, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 5000 people globally until now and has affected around 1,45,995 individuals. In India, coronavirus has affected a total of 80 people and claimed the lives of two people. The increasing number of cases is concerning enough and you must take the required steps to keep yourself safe.