Two questions we would not have had to ask ourselves before 2020 are what are the best face masks, and what is the best hand sanitizer?
But these are now pressing concerns thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Probably the easiest answer to both questions is simply - whatever you have with you! The most important thing is that you have an easy supply to hand.
The Lancet medical journal carried out a review of the evidence for mask use in the community in relation to the current COVID-19 outbreak.
The study found that face masks are indeed a key component of reducing infection transmission.
Medical face masks, such as N95 respirator models and disposable surgical face masks were found to be more effective at reducing infection risk than single-layer masks.
So the best coronavirus face masks are those with multiple layers of cloth or fabric.
For an eco-friendly, vegan option, try The Humble Co Face Mask.
Made from a polyester and cotton mix, the mask can be washed multiple times before it needs to be replaced.
And for anyone who likes their PPE with a dash of style, its chic Scandinavian design was developed by Swedish dentists.
However, for those on the run or anyone who needs to use face masks multiple times in one day, it might be easiest to opt for a disposable option.
These disposable three-ply masks have a small metal strip in the nose, which make it easy to get a snug fit.
They come in either packs of three or 50.
Different types of hand sanitiser, including antibacterial gel, had already become much more commonplace, even before the recent pandemic.
Many people have grown used to keeping a pocket hand sanitizer in their bag, be it for personal hygiene, travel, dog walks, or use with babies and kids.
Having a small hand sanitizer to hand is reassuring when public facilities are out of soap, after being on public transport, and during cold and flu season when we touch our faces a lot more than normal.
However, using them frequently has never been more important as now.
Whether you choose to go for a bulk hand sanitiser gel, a natural hand sanitizer, a mini hand sanitizer spray, or the foam variety you often see in hospitals, the most important factor is that it is antibacterial.
Antibacterial hand sanitiser
It is a word we are well used to seeing on our products, from cleaning to cookware, but what exactly does antibacterial mean?
Quite simply, it means that the ingredients kill or stop bacteria in some way.
Most types of antibacterial gel and sprays are made with at least 60% alcohol, which is a great antibacterial agent.
Products should always be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions in order to get the full antibacterial effect, as different types of hand disinfectant will recommend using different amounts.
It is also important to note that antibacterial hand sanitizer cannot get rid of all germs: soap and water, where available, is always preferable.
That said, having some form of hand sanitizer is better than none, so choose your favourite type, read the instructions, make sure to spread it on your hands thoroughly – as you would with soap and water – and let it dry properly.
Bulk hand sanitiser
In pre-COVID times, it was very common to see mini hand sanitizers hanging from people’s bags, but now many of us are looking for a more industrial amount as hand gel use becomes more widespread.
It contains 70% alcohol and aloe vera so it is a bit kinder on skin than some other types.
Spray hand sanitizer
Some people find the hand sanitiser gel too sticky, or that it doesn’t agree with their skin.
It can be worth trying a spray hand sanitiser instead, such as Virusol Skin & Surface Spray, which is hospital grade and kills all types of virus. Or, for a natural hand sanitizer, you’d be hard pressed to find one that smells more divine than Dr Bronner’s Lavender Hand Hygiene Spray. Organic, fair trade, and from a company whose ethics are squeaky clean, Dr Bronner’s spray contains 62% alcohol but smells so good you can even use it as an air freshener!