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Monday, June 30, 2014

Hand Sanitizers -- Do They Really Work??

Hand sanitizers are everywhere now. Most people use them in their homes, and they can be found in public places like hospitals, doctors offices, nursing homes, even grocery stores. But do they really work? Do they kill germs and prevent illness?

What's in hand sanitizers?

Hand sanitizers contain some form of alcohol, which works like an antiseptic. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are known to be effective in preventing bacterial and viral infections. These are the kinds of infections that cause colds and flu. There are some rare bacteria that hand sanitizers won't kill, but for the most part, they are very useful.

Hand sanitizers vs. soap and water

According to the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the danger comes when people replace soap and water with just hand sanitizers. Hand sanitizers were meant to be an additional method of killing bacteria. A recent study of 91 long-term care facilities found that many workers were relying too heavily on sanitizers and not enough on soap and water. As a result, norovirus illnesses increased at these facilities.

So, which one should you use?

The Infectious Diseases Society of America recommends using both. Nothing should replace good old soap and water for killing bacteria. In fact, scrubbing hands with soap and water for 20-30 seconds goes a long way in preventing illness from bacteria. Hand sanitizers are also recommended as a supplement to hand washing. Using the two together will help kill germs and prevent illnesses caused by bacteria.
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