COVID-19 | Health Ministry says no to spraying people with disinfectants; says it’s physically & psychologically harmful

With several government departments and agencies resorting to spraying disinfectants on people, ostensibly to “disinfect” them in times of Covid-19, the Union Health Ministry today clearly stated that “spraying of individuals or groups is not recommended under any circumstances”.

“Spraying an individual or group with chemical disinfectants is physically and psychologically harmful,” the Health Ministry, in an advisory said.

“Even if a person is potentially exposed with the COVID-19 virus, spraying the external part of the body does not kill the virus that has entered your body,” it added.

The advisory pointed out that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that these sprays are effective even in disinfecting the outer clothing in an effective manner.

The Health Ministry also warned of several potential side-effects of spraying people with disinfectants. “Spraying of chlorine on individuals can lead to irritation of eyes and skin and potentially gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting. Inhalation of sodium hypochlorite can lead to irritation of mucous membranes to the nose, throat, respiratory tract and may also cause bronchospasm,” it warned.

The advisory further said that use of measures like spraying of individuals “may in fact lead to a false sense of disinfection & safety and actually hamper public observance to hand washing and social distancing measures”.

Issuing this advisory, the Health Ministry stated that many queries regarding the efficacy of use disinfectants such as Sodium hypochlorite spray used over the individuals to disinfect them had been received. “The strategy seems to have gained of lot of media attention and is also being reportedly used at local levels in certain districts/local bodies,” the Ministry said.

Elaborating further on the matter, the advisory said that “chemical disinfectants are recommended for cleaning and disinfection only of frequently touched areas/surfaces by those who are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19”.

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