Spraying disinfectants poses health risk: WHO

World Health Organisation (WHO) in its document on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as part of the response to the virus informed that spraying disinfectants can be ineffective.

May 18, 2020 18:51 IST
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The World Health Organisation (WHO) on May 16 warned the countries that spraying disinfectants on the street will not eliminate the Coronavirus and can be harmful to public health.

In a document on cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as part of the response to the virus, WHO stated that spraying disinfectants can be ineffective.

The organisation further explained that spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces such as marketplaces or streets has not been recommended to kill COVID-19 or any other pathogens as a disinfectant will be inactivated by the dirt or debris.

Spraying disinfectants not recommended:

World Health Organisation in its document mentioned that even in the absence of organic matter, it is unlikely that spraying will adequately cover all the surfaces for the required contact time duration that will be needed to deactivate pathogens.

WHO further stated that pavements and streets have not been considered as the reservoirs of infection of COVID-19. The organisation also added that spraying disinfectants can also be dangerous for human health.

The document by WHO also stresses that spraying individuals with disinfectants have not been recommended in any circumstances. It can be physically and psychologically harmful and will not in any reduce the infected person’s ability to spread COVID-19 virus through contact or droplets.

Spraying toxic chemicals or chlorine on people can also result in skin and eye irritation, gastrointestinal effects, and bronchospasm.

What can be done?

The document states that if the disinfectant has to be applied, it must be done with a wipe or cloth that has been soaked in disinfectant.

The SARS-CoV-2 Virus attaches itself easily to the objects and the surfaces. It must be noted though that no precise information has been available informing the period during which the virus will remain infectious on various forms of surfaces.

Different studies have shown that the virus can stay for several days on several types of surfaces. However, the time period is purely theoretical as they are recorded under laboratory conditions and must be understood with caution in the real-world environment.

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