Disinfecting the hands with alcohol reduces the number of germs on the skin. But the alcohol evaporates and the fat layer remains on the skin. Germs can still survive in it. Especially the Clostridium difficile, which forms spores that are not killed by the alcohol.
This can be found on the skin or in the stool of many people without making them ill.
Fortunately, there are dispensers for disinfectants in old people’s homes or hospitals at the entrance, which can reduce the amount of germs in their hands, but not really with this particular germ. This means that it can be wonderfully spread further via door handles, shaking hands and feeding others.
Washing hands with soap reduces germs on the skin immensely and also the germs remaining in the fat layer are washed off with it. This probably reduces the germs sensitive to alcohol just as much as a hand disinfection recommended for at least 30 seconds without prior hand washing. Surgical disinfection takes place minutes after the hands have been washed.
Unfortunately, some people can develop allergies to the disinfectants.
As a rule, toilet doors only open to the inside. Then, in order to leave the toilet again, you have to touch with your freshly washed hands where those who do not wash their hands at all have left their germs.
There is a big difference in behaviour whether you are at home or somewhere else. At home you cannot prevent the germs that live in our intestines and on our skin from being spread around the house and from being picked up again. Our organism can only learn to deal with them if it grows up with these germs. That is why too much cleanliness in our own home is harmful to children.
However, if someone in the flat-sharing community is ill, then the hygiene measures should be increased a little. Then it can also make sense to disinfect your hands after washing them.
It is different in public. It is typical for the procedure that you use door handles and hold on to the same places. This way you get in contact with the germs of thousands of other people. Even if they don’t have to make you ill, because other people live with them at home, they can mess up your own intestinal germs.
Not every pathogenic germ that we swallow or inhale must also cause an infection. There are certain minimum germ counts that must be exceeded. But these can vary greatly from person to person. For people with a disturbed immune system they can also be very low.
But there are also germs like the Norovirus, which only needs a very low germ count to cause diarrhoea.
That is why you should not lick your fingers in public and wash your hands thoroughly before eating anything with your fingers. Disinfecting your hands only makes sense where you are dealing with germs that cause illness. And don’t forget to take care of your skin even after disinfection.