Excessive use of disinfectants causes diseases: Health experts

KABUL (Pajhwok): Health experts consider the use of disinfectant solutions effective in preventing coronavirus, but say that overuse of the solutions could cause allergies and skin itching issues.

The coronavirus, which first broke out in Wuhan, China, two years ago, has spread almost worldwide.

Statistics from international institutes show that hundreds of millions of people have been infected with Covid-19 and more than 6.3 million have died from the pandemic.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been working to provide drugs, vaccines, or ways to prevent the disease.

The use of masks, regular hand washing, observing a distance of a meter, avoiding participation in gatherings in closed locations and disinfecting the environment with disinfectants are some of the guidelines that health professionals suggest to prevent coronavirus infection.

However, Dr. Nisar Ahmad Erfan, an internal medicine and allergy specialist at a private hospital named‘Afghanistan Allergy Center’ in Kabul, told Pajhwok Afghan News said that the only way to prevent coronavirus was to regularly wash hands with disinfectants and soap.

When people are exposed to coronavirus, the virus is transmitted through mouth and nose to the body, but washing hands with disinfectants and soap can kill 90 percent of the virus, he said.

However,when asked if disinfectants are harmful to skin, he said, “Every drug has 30 percent side effects and the use of disinfectants causes changes in the upper level of the skin which irritates the skin.”

He said that the use of detergent used to disinfect homes, has a dangerous effect on the respiratory system, as it causes allergies, dyspnea, skin diseases and skin changes.

Detergents are seriously harmful to eyes if they come in touch with eyes and causes tears, redness and severe pain, Erfan said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mohammad ArefAbid, a skin and beauty specialist at Arwin Dermatology Hospital, stressed the need to follow health guidelines to prevent coronavirus, saying that frequent hand washing with soap and water is important.

However, he said that too much use of disinfectants, particularly detergents could cause health issues such as allergies, skin diseases, eye irritation and respiratory diseases.

The moisturizing creams and Vaseline is essential to prevent skin allergies caused by disinfectants, he added.

Dr. MasihNoori, former head of Afghan-Japan Hospital in Kabul, also shared a similar view and stressed that disinfectants played an active role in killing viruses and germs.

However, he said that excessive use of disinfectants causes skin changes such as dryness and loss of skin softness.

Dr. JavidHajir, a spokesman of the Ministry of Public Health, told Pajhwok Afghan News that sanitizers were effective in killing the virus. However, he said that the expiry date of sanitizers and elements of the solution should be read carefully as well as it should be kept away from the sunlight.

The use of detergents to disinfect housesis not recommended by doctors as it causes side effects such as skin rash and respiratory problems and other serious health issues when used indoors, he said.

“We do not recommend the use of disinfectants at all, disinfectants should be used only when there is no access to water and soap,” he said.

People who are traveling by plane or car or are in the office who do not have access to soap and water, using hand sanitizer is necessary for them, otherwise using soap and water is the best option to get rid of the coronavirus, Hajir said.

Benafshah, a resident of Zaman Khan area of Kabul, said, “When the coronavirus pandemic started, doctors insisted on washing hands with soap and water; all people used sanitizers at home and offices, I would frequently wash my hands, I later found that my hands’ skin turned black like it has burned.”

She said that two years after the coronavirus outbreak, the skin of her hands was yet to get normal and she now had decided to see a skin doctor.

Samia, an employee of a private office in Kabul said, “After the coronavirus outbreak, we took serious measures to prevent the virus and I always disinfected my hands and washed my hands very frequently, after a while, I noticed that the skin of my hands became very dry and the skin color changed, later I limited the use of sanitizers and started oiling my skin.”


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