It’s that time of year where sickness is spreading. So how do we combat it? Hand sanitizer or soap? A study by the American College of Preventive Medicine showed that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are less effective than soap at preventing outbreaks of norovirus in long-term care facilities. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers clean the skin by killing some bacteria, diseases, and germs on the skin’s surface, but they don’t actually remove dirt.
The CDC recommends using sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and clean, running water are not available. Here is some more hand-washing advice from the CDC:
What Is the Right Way to Wash Your Hands?
– Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
– Rub your hands together to make lather, then scrub the entire hand.
– Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails (clean nails by scratching nails down opposing soapy palm).
– Continue for at least 20 seconds.
– Rinse your hands well under running water.
– Dry your hands using a clean towel or air-dry them.
The bottom line? Either is better than nothing, and washing with soap is better than hand sanitizer.