Walk through gates: an antiviral toxic trap, not a safety shield

Walk through gates spraying disinfectants like chlorine and alcohal based chemicals are a potential health hazard for human health, these are not safety shields.

Walk through gates: an antiviral toxic trap, not a safety shield

As the country is trying to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic despite an extended lockdown, the gates are being set up in various public spaces in front of public offices, mosques, hospitals, vegetable markets, and railway stations as a ‘safety shield’ against the virus. These gates are superficial.

People need to remember that the virus inside body does not die once you walk through these gates. These walk-through gates do not provide complete safety against the virus and there is no recommendation from the WHO in this regard. These safety shields i.e. gates can be hazardous.

Such decisions involve huge investments and should be backed by scientific evidence, experts say, while stressing that public safety is paramount.

People must not forgo hand washing, social distancing if they walk through such gates. People must not forgo the basic protocols of handwashing, sneezing etiquette, social distancing if they walk through these gates.

A lot of people feel that these gates are safe because in films they show people walk in and out of labs after being sprayed. What they are talking about is biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) — the highest level of biosafety precautions, and is appropriate for work with agents that could easily be aerosol-transmitted within the laboratory and cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which there are no available vaccines or treatments.

This is the latest joke being played on the public as mentioned by Dr. Shobha Luxmi, an infectious disease specialist and assistant professor at the Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS). This is a waste of money.

‘Only clothes are sanitized

Only clothes are sanitized, that too if a person walks through slowly. The basic rule is to maintain good hygiene and maintaining social distance. The chemical will cause allergic reactions and breathing issues.

Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (ie eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

The use of masks by a symptomatic individual or asymptomatic infected individual can reduce transmission by blocking droplets. So the combination of hand hygiene and universal use of masks (regular cloth mask would do) is effective.

Avoid the use of bleach in spray form

Given that 70 percent of alcohol for disinfection is expensive, many people are opting for a spray solution that contains chlorine (household bleach).

The experts stressed that the use of bleach should be avoided in spray form. “Fumigation should never be used on people. It is meant for inanimate objects and surfaces. Also the chemical damages eyes, skin, throat, and lungs,” the experts said.

The researchers strongly recommend that the spraying of humans with chlorine is banned forthwith; however, the appropriate concentration of chlorine may be used for environmental disinfection when recommended by IPC teams.

Should chlorine be indicated for disinfection, it should be applied as a wipe rather than a spray. Alternatives such as 70 percent alcohol should be considered.

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