Monday, May 23, 2011

Are Hand Sanitizers Really Effective?

Parents often rely on hand sanitizers even after "dirtier" jobs such as diaper changes. They are definitely convenient, but not always effective. We did some research and found some interesting information for you.

According to ThirdAge publication, "hand sanitizers are only 40 percent effective and may last for as little two minutes. In addition, experts say they don’t necessarily work as well as soap and water. Mostly it depends on the kind and amount of germs the hand sanitizer is supposed to kill. The general rule of thumb is this: the longer it's been since you've washed with soap and water, the less effective a hand sanitizer is likely to be. Plus, proteinaceous and fatty materials (both commonly found in most kitchens) are especially resistant to alcohol-based gels. There are a few key germs that alcohol doesn't kill well, such as E. coli, which is why washing with soap and water is best during cooking. The Centers for Disease Control that set the original guidelines stating hand sanitizers were an effective alternative to hand washing, intended them to be used in health-care settings, where doctors and nurses wash their hands several times an hour.
Also, although alcohol-based gels can kill bacteria, they won’t necessarily clean your hands. They won’t remove dirt, which includes organic material such as blood or feces. Soap and water must be the first choice in restrooms. But these alcohol-based sanitizers are effective when it comes to preventing the spread of the seasonal flu, H1N1, colds and other viral- and bacterial-based diseases. And people seem to use hand sanitizers more often than washing their hands. That’s probably why studies have shown how hand sanitizers curb absentee rates in schools and workplaces.  Fast evaporation, coupled with moisturizers, also means hand sanitizers won't dry out your skin.

Source:, Shine

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