Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Interesting facts-Do hand sanitizers actually work?

Do hand sanitizers actually work?

The wind is getting cooler and, by that, we all know that the season to be jolly is almost here. But you know us, tropical folks, a slight change in temperature and we get the sniffles.

Not to worry, though, as they say we can easily protect ourselves from those sneaky germs with
vitamin C and proper hand hygiene. And that’s probably why you carry that bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse wherever you go.

When the H1N1 scare spread like wildfire, it was reported that sanitizes experienced a spike in sales. If you watched the movie, Contagion, you’re most likely extremely paranoid about germs and obsessively douching your hands with sanitizing liquids. But do they really work? Is there a direct correlation between diminished chances of catching bugs and hand sanitizer use?

According to a study published by the US Food and Drug Administration titled “The Effect of Hand Hygiene on Illness Rate Among Students in University Residence Halls,

” regular application of hand sanitizers result in fewer overall infections and absentee rates. This is direct proof that proper hand hygiene can actually fight against common sicknesses.

But if you read the label carefully, most sanitizers are antibacterial and come with the phrase, “Effective against bacteria.” Does this mean that they only kill bacteria and not viruses? This is answered in The Chart blog on the CNN Web site. The post says,

“In essence, [sanitizing] makes your hands very inhospitable to viruses...and viruses simply don’t want to cling to it.”

We should also be mindful about the ingredients in the hand sanitizers we use. Some just masquerade under the guise of cleansing, but are, in fact, mere scented hand gels with little or no effectiveness whatsoever. Look for a product that has at least

60-percent alcohol, preferably ethanol-based, for optimum effect.

At the end of the day, hand hygiene is super important because we use our hands to do everything—handle money, type on keyboards, shake another person’s hand, hold onto the poles at the MRT, flush public restroom toilets and rub our own eyes. You may not be aware of it, but your hands are very dirty. Wash them with soap and water whenever possible. For all other instances, it wouldn’t hurt to use a hand sanitizer.


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