How COVID-19 has brought health and hygiene to the forefront of discussions everywhere – from the corporate world to our homes

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How COVID-19 has brought health and hygiene to the forefront of discussions everywhere – from the corporate world to our homes
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  • COVID-19 has brought us back to the basics sanitization, hygiene and social distancing are our best bet at staying away from the virus.
  • Doctors and medical experts agree that the pandemic, while it has been an unprecedented crisis, has also been a blessing in disguise for awareness both in the public and private sector.
  • But as we look at sanitization, there needs to be a broader view. It's not just your hands but also the objects that come into your house that need to be cleaned.
From the mother reminding the child to wash hands before eating to the factory worker signing off after a long day with clean hands and a splash of water on the face – washing hands and face has been a part of our daily routine for as long as we can remember. Yet when the coronavirus pandemic began, it once again reminded us just how important hygiene and sanitization is.

When the pandemic began, sanitizers became scarce as well as the demand for hand wash soap and liquids shot up. Cut to almost seven months into the pandemic, with the supply now stocked up, the demand continues to remain high. COVID-19 has once again brought us back to the basics as until a vaccine is tested and ready for supply, sanitization, hygiene and social distancing are our best bet at staying away from the virus.

COVID-19 catapulted us into a journey of awareness

Doctors and medical experts agree that the pandemic, while it has been an unprecedented crisis, has also been a blessing in disguise for awareness both in the public and private sector.
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During a recent chat with Business Insider, experts spoke about how we can #SimplifySafety and focus on sanitization and good hygiene practices to stay safe.


“The COVID pandemic has changed the way we look at public health. From buildings with multiple entries and thousands of people walking in together, now you see buildings with single entry and an automated sanitizer dispenser,” said Dr Naresh Kumar Mani, Assistant Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Manipal Institute of Technology.

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Dr Marcus Ranney from Thrive India, reminisces the time when during his medical studies from years ago, washing hands was something even they were reminded of time and again before they saw a patient. And other experts too agreed that the awareness for sanitization has also been revisited in the public health department as well.

And one of the most important steps in the awareness has been community participation. Societies and residents coming together to ensure public health safety. “As we start seeing better hygiene in communities and public health, the number of diseases will go down. Better nutrition outcomes lead to better health outcomes which results in a good economic outcome. As far as the pandemic goes, we have seen a clear linkage between health security and economic security,” said Dr Anant Bhan, researcher and trainer, Public Health and Bioethics.

The experts agreed that it has now become important that a public communication campaign with the involvement of role models has to go even beyond COVID-19 to keep the need for health and hygiene alive in the society. So, a sustained usage of masks and sanitizers is key.

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“Instead of fining people, the places where you see effective local participation and community led ownership of public health there has been a better response. We as a society need to work on the behavioural science aspect,” said Dr Bhan.

Changing perspectives

The Indian Health Ministry has announced that until a COVID-19 vaccine hits the stands sanitization and social distancing are the only cure/prevention we have from the virus.

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Interestingly, Mehernosh Pithawalla, Vice President of Godrej Security Solutions, very rightly said that the line between health and health security has been blurred by the pandemic. “People are looking at security in a holistic fashion – there is a shift now with people coupling home and health security,” said Pithawalla.

We as a society have moved from an outside-in perspective (where the government, organizations and societies are first responsible for hygiene and then an individual) to an inside-out perspective, where an individual is first responsible for their own health.

As much as we know about the coronavirus, there’s a lot that still remains uncertain. While public transmission has been seen to be the fastest possible way the virus spreads, airborne transmission hasn’t been ruled out. In such a scenario, Dr Bhan advises that it’s best to keep following proper hygiene practices.

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Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic began, the demand for sanitizers has just shot up. “There has been an 81% increase in the use of hand sanitizers and 29X jump in the search of sanitizers in Google. And this is just data from April, imagine how much higher it is now,” said Dr Marcus Ranney.

But as we look at sanitization, there needs to be a broader view. It's not just your hands but also the objects that come into your house.

People have been drying out groceries in the sun, leaving them aside for 14 hours, while some have been soaking them in soap water. But there’s a growing popularity of sanitization boxes. From startups to corporates, everyone has been bringing out sanitization boxes that help you clean your groceries and other belongings.
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And one of the latest products to hit the market is the Godrej UV case. UV-C light has been used extensively for more than 40 years in disinfecting drinking water, waste water, air, pharmaceutical products, and surfaces against a whole suite of human pathogens. And Godrej’s latest product uses UV-C technology to sanitize products.

“Shaped like a microwave and even easier to use, the CSIO-CSIR certified product can be used to sanitize groceries, PPE kits, masks and even mobile phones as they have encased batteries. The device is safe to use even with kids around, if someone does open the door while it's sanitizing products, it will shut off. So, usability-wise there are no challenges,” said tech reviewer Ashwin Raghunath.

But as these products flood the market, Pithawalla says that one must ensure that the product they buy is CSIR certified – which ensures three things. One, that the right dosage of UV light falls from all directions on the product kept in the box, second, that the case is leak proof as UV light can be harmful too and third, that the box has aluminium reflected panels on the inside which once again ensure the right dosage of UV light falling on the object.
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by Godrej Security Solutions
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