After antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and antibacterial paper, antiviral tissues are a natural follower. In recent past, antibacterial material was seen in sponges, viscose wipes and some kitchen specialty products. Antiviral tissues make a lot of sense in times when flu comes around and can be of immeasurable value in office and shared space environments. Think of it this way – when someone blows their nose and throws the wipe in the trashcan, this does not mean that germs simply stop existing and comply with our desire to keep them as far as possible from us. What is, more when the janitors come to pick up the garbage at the end of the day, they are again exposed to the same contagious matter – the fact that tissues are in the trash does not make them less toxic. When this effect is multiplied times twenty in an open-space office area full of a number of smaller trashcans, a virus could really escalate and propagate fast. Additionally, a number of property management teams would not invest and spend the extra few dollars on antibacterial air conditioning filters. If some of this hazardous whiff is trapped in the ducts, it can really cause some health damage.
Antiviral tissues have three layers rather similar to the corrugated fiberboard sandwich used in large and small cardboard boxes. The middle tissue layer, just like the wavy flutes, is the magic one which traps germs after it becomes in contact with moisture. An original hypothesis was that this medium part contains silver nano particles which can destroy bacteria. This has proven true in wrap paper and other mainly food packaging and the only argument against it going mainstream is price – scientists simply cannot get it manufactured cheaply enough. On the other hand, some references claim that antiviral tissues contain almost nothing but lemon acid and sodium dodecyl sulfate (common ingredient in cleaning agents). In other words, capture viruses with lemon and soda – what a neat and simple idea! So why not, these tissues are not hugely expensive.
Bottom line – can these antiviral tissues stop viruses and prevent flu spread? They are an excellent addition to the existing toolset against germs and bacteria. A sad part of the truth is that the majority of people simply do not wash their hands either at all or not often or good enough. Think before you get on someone else’s keyboard and really do not allow anyone to touch yours. ATM machines and public phones are the other two pieces of needed public infrastructure to be most careful with.
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