It has been a little over a year since WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. The infection is still spreading with mutations that prove to be even more infectious. But the essentials required to protect ourselves are still the same: masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, etc. This article intends to educate you about products readily available in the market to help fight the pandemic.
You will learn about essentials that will help with prevention and also support you in monitoring your health if you are infected. We also have six recommendations for the best products to have during the COVID-19 pandemic from top companies like Lifebuoy, Lizol, and more,
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Table of Contents
Learn about the various types of masks and hand sanitizers and how to choose disinfectants from the sections below. We will also discuss the features to look for in pulse oximeters and infrared thermometers.
Read through to find out more about masks and gloves. You will find information about types of masks and gloves, how to wear them, the alcohol content to look for in hand sanitizers, and many more. Equip yourself with this knowledge and remain safe!
Surgical masks are similar but consist of three layers of non-woven fabric. Since the rate of infection is increasing, many healthcare organizations recommend double masking—wearing a three-layered cloth mask on top of a disposable surgical mask for better protection. Always choose a face mask with a nose wire and bend it over your nose for a closer fit to your face, thus preventing air from leaking.
The N95 mask is by far the most efficient type easily available to the public. It provides particle filtration of greater than or equal to 95%. It usually has five layers of non-woven material—inner and outer layers of hydrophobic material that repels water, non-woven polypropylene fabric layers that hold an electrostatic charge, providing enhanced filtration, and a waterproof, moisture-proof hot air cotton layer.
If you have any health condition, serious health complications, or you take medicines that suppress your immune system, we recommend wearing an N95 mask when going out in public. But, as always, the better choice is staying home.
You may also notice some products mentioning "ethanol (95%)". This means that the chemical compound ethanol is made of 95% alcohol and 5% water, and not that the sanitizer contains 95% alcohol. We can also find hand sanitizers with an alcohol content of 80% and more, but they are rare. But more is not always good.
Alcohol kills a virus by denaturing its outer membrane protein. Water actually helps alcohol in the denaturing process. Also, sanitizers with high alcohol content (of 95% and more) evaporate quickly, giving it less time to kill the virus, rendering it less effective. MoHFW recommends using a hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds and washing hands using soap and water for at least 40 to 60 seconds.
In a healthcare setting where people are much more susceptible to infection, usage of 90% or more provides better protection, but for the general public, 70 to 80% is enough. Soap and water is still the most effective way to prevent viral infection. We recommend using hand sanitizer only if they are not readily available.
Your chances of contracting the disease are also high if you touch a doorknob, handrail, etc., at any public place, and you accidentally wipe your eyes or mouth using the same hands. If you are a bystander for someone at a hospital or if you have health issues, we recommend wearing disposable gloves in public.
Surgical gloves are normally made of latex. But if you have a latex allergy, you can go for nitrile gloves made of synthetic rubber. Gloves can come powdered or powder-free. The powder, which is cornstarch, helps you to wear gloves easily. But it could trigger allergic reactions in some people, so we recommend going for powder-free gloves.
This applies mostly to households where an infected person lives and public places like offices and shops. Two of the most popular ingredients proven to kill the coronavirus are benzalkonium chloride and sodium hypochlorite (also known as bleach).
High-touch surfaces like hand railings, doorknobs, tables, chairs, lockers, etc., should be disinfected using a liquid containing any one of the above ingredients. Make sure that you use it undiluted and leave the surface for at least 10 minutes before touching again. For cleaning floors, you may dilute it according to the instructions on the pack.
Disinfectant sprays are also available, but studies show mixed results on how long it will take for the surface to be virus-free. Some studies show that a disinfectant spray can bring about the desired results in 20 seconds, while others take a minute or more. It is not a convenient solution if you want to use it on public high-touch surfaces.
The blood oxygen level of a healthy person is between 94 and 100%, but COVID-19 renders parts of the lungs incapable of functioning properly, thus reducing the amount of oxygen reaching our organs, which can be life-threatening. If you are infected and staying in isolation, a pulse oximeter is a helpful tool to keep your blood oxygen levels in check.
Usually, when blood oxygen levels are low, a person will experience shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. But beware of silent hypoxia! A person with this condition will not experience the symptoms of low blood oxygen even if the levels drop below a concerning 92%. We recommend buying a pulse oximeter if you are infected, as silent hypoxia cannot be predicted.
Pulse oximeters can measure more than just blood oxygen levels. Some high-end models display heart rate, respiratory rate (no. of breaths per minute), and perfusion index. Research suggests that the third finger of your dominant hand is the best option for a pulse oximeter. We recommend buying a pulse oximeter that shows as many parameters as possible, so a medical practitioner may be able to analyze the patient's condition quickly if the need arises.
Temperature check using an infrared thermometer is one of the mandatory guidelines imposed by our government for all workplaces and public places like shopping malls and supermarkets. But its application can be extended to home use too.
If the working member(s) of your family needs to be at a place where public interaction is high, for example, a hospital, everyone in the family could benefit from regular temperature checks. Usually, infrared thermometers can read a person's temperature within 1 second. Studies show that wrist reading is much more accurate than forehead temperature reading.
Remember that there are two types of IR thermometers available—industrial and medical. The industrial variant has a larger range (as low as -50°C and as high as 1050°C), so the margin of error is also high, which can result in false readings. Medical IR thermometers have a very small range and thus a tiny margin of error. Temperature reading shouldn't be the only parameter to monitor your health during the pandemic. Check for COVID-19 symptoms too.
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Protective Face Mask (N95)
Tested and Approved by Three Reputed Labs
Disposable Medical Examination Gloves
Powder-Free to Protect You From Allergies
With an Alcohol Content Of 72.34%
Disinfectant Surface Cleaner
Use Undiluted On High Touch Surfaces
Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
Measures Multiple Parameters
Color Indication for Quick Evaluation of Healthy Temperature
N95 Protective Face Mask by Boldfit provides 95% particulate filtration, as expected from an N95 mask. It comprises a non-woven (enhances filtration capability), hydrophobic (repels water droplets) inner and outer layer, meltblown filter layer (better filtration due to its ability to hold an electrostatic charge), and a hot air cotton layer (moisture-proof, waterproof, and provides thermal insulation).
The pack contains five masks that you can rotate every five days. This product has been tested and approved at three reputed laboratories, namely NABL, SGS, and the Ministry of Textiles. The company promises that the manufacturing process followed COVID safety protocols, and all staff wore PPE kits while handling the masks.
If you have health conditions that make you more susceptible to the coronavirus, we recommend wearing gloves for extra protection. Rakshan Extra Long and Strong latex gloves are longer than the typical gloves available in the market, providing you better protection and peace of mind. It has a thickness of 0.18mm, which is the same as the ones used by surgeons.
Rakshan gloves meet ASTM standards—guidelines issued by ASTM International that enhance the safety and quality of products. The pack contains 50 pieces of single-use gloves of medium size (palm circumference: 7" - 7.5"). These gloves are also powder-free, meaning no cornstarch powder is added, thus preventing allergic reactions.
If you are looking for a sanitizer refill pack to fill your empty sanitizer bottles at home, Cipla CIPHANDS 500 ml pack is just for you. You can choose the 100 ml pack if you want one to carry with you while traveling. The sanitizer has 72.34% of alcohol content, making it effective in denaturing the enveloped coronavirus.
It has a gel consistency and is non-sticky with a pleasant fragrance. Customer reviews show that both the 100 ml and 500 ml variants are priced reasonably. We recommend rubbing your hands with sanitizer until it has completely evaporated off.
If you own a business where people visit frequently or if you have an infected person at home, we recommend buying Lizol Disinfectant Surface Cleaner. The main ingredient in this disinfectant is Benzalkonium Chloride, which is proven to be effective in killing the coronavirus. You may choose between a 975ml, 2L, or 5L pack, depending on your needs.
Use undiluted on high-touch surfaces like kitchen slabs, tables, doorknobs, railings, and handles. Leave it for 10 minutes and rinse off before touching the surface again. For cleaning floors, pour a capful into 4 liters of water. It is also efficient in removing stains and leaves a pleasant citrus fragrance that fills the room.
MEDITIVE Fingertip Pulse Oximeter measures four parameters—Blood oxygen (SpO2), pulse rate, respiratory rate, and perfusion index. It can indicate blood oxygen levels between 35% - 100% (keep in mind that the normal range is 94% to 100%). The pulse rate range the oximeter can display is between 25 and 250 bpm (the normal range is 60 to 125 bpm).
You can also view the person's perfusion index. The pack comes with two AAA batteries, enabling you to start using the oximeter right out of the box. You also get a cord to wear it around your neck, so you won't lose it or forget to use it. If you or anyone in your family is in isolation due to infection, we recommend using a pulse oximeter to monitor blood oxygen levels regularly.
Vandelay Infrared Thermometer can check a person's temperature in just one second, just like the others in the market. The screen color stays green if the thermometer reads normal temperature (approx. 98.6°F) but changes to orange if low fever (between 98.7°F and 100.4°F) is detected and red if it reads high fever (over 103°F).
Apart from the color indication, you also get a sound alarm when the temperature is above the normal range. It comes with a memory feature for storing up to 32 temperature readings. You may buy an infrared thermometer for home use or for use at your office or shop where you get frequent customer visits. Vandelay provides three years sensor warranty for this product.
As part of our initiatives for educating people, we have published two articles that will help our readers stay up to date and informed about the COVID-19 pandemic and also help underprivileged communities in our society. Follow the links below to read about the best YouTube channels to get COVID-related information and COVID-19 relief funds you can donate to in India.
Not one product can replace the other. Masks and hand sanitizers are mandatory for protecting yourself from contracting the disease. Using a disinfectant regularly will give extra protection if you own a place where you get frequent visits (shops, restaurants, etc.) or you have a family member with the infection.
To be on the safe side, we advise you to use a pulse oximeter to monitor your blood oxygen levels, especially if you are infected and living in isolation. If you or anyone in your family work at a place that requires frequent interaction with people, we recommend having an infrared thermometer at hand. Noticing a temperature rise early on will help prevent spreading the virus to others.
Author - Arun F Xaviour
No. 1: Boldfit｜Protective Face Mask (N95)
No. 2: Rakshan｜Disposable Medical Examination Gloves
No. 3: Cipla｜CIPHANDS
No. 4: Lizol｜Disinfectant Surface Cleaner
No. 5: MEDITIVE｜Fingertip Pulse Oximeter
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