Coronavirus: Does antibacterial gel work to stop covid-19?

4 March 2020, 10:36 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

By Adrian Sherling

A number of people have claimed that antibacterial hand gel will not work to stop coronavirus because it is a virus. We asked a doctor just how effective the alcohol gel is to stop covid-19.

Hand sanitisers, antibacterial gels and alcohol solutions are running out of stock around the UK, with Boots restricting customers to buying two bottles only - so do hand and antibacterial gels really work? Especially when it comes to preventing coronavirus?

Unfortunately some virologists have warned that because coronavirus is a virus, a completely different thing to bacteria, the hand gels become somewhat ineffective.

Iain Dale asked Dr Sneh for the truth on whether antibacterial hand gel works to stop coronavirus.

The doctor responded: "There are a few misnomers going around. Most of these anti-microbial sanitisers work against both bacteria and viruses.

"There are some types of anti-bac which are meant to just work against bacteria, but these pathogens do tend to get killed off by these sanitisers.

"So they are still effective."

Do anti-bacterial hand gels work to stop coronavirus?
Do anti-bacterial hand gels work to stop coronavirus? Picture: PA

How to protect yourself from coronavirus

People need to reinvoke the slogan "Catch it, bin it, kill it, wash your hands". That is the simple answer because it's a respiratory illness.

You should treat it in the same way you treat a cold: use alcohol-based anti-bacterial soaps and sprays, avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth and avoid contact with people who are infected.

The government is suggesting people wash their hands more often - after being outside, before eating and every time they sneeze or cough.

You should wash your hands for 20 seconds - for the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice - with soap and hot water. This will help slow the spread of the virus.

READ MORE: Do facemasks work to stop coronavirus?

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

The symptoms are similar to a seasonal fllu, including:
- headache
- cough
- fever
- shortness of breath
- chills
- body aches

In most cases, you won't know whether you have a Coronavirus or a different cold-causing virus, such as rhinovirus.

But if a Coronavirus infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract, such as your lungs, it can cause pneumonia, especially in older people.