View Full Version : From NYT: Hand Sanitizers: Good or Bad?
03-21-2006, 02:29 PM
Crux of the story: Many sanitizers "contain significantly less than the 60 percent minimum alcohol concentration that health officials deem necessary to kill most harmful bacteria and viruses."
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03-21-2006, 02:46 PM
Read the article. I guess if you are buying a generic or store brand, you really need to check the concentration of alcohol. (Guess this is one instance where the generic is NOT equivalent to a brand name!)
03-21-2006, 03:27 PM
Wow! Thanks for the head's up. I just checked my little bottle of Target brand of Purell. It has 62% ethyl alcohol. Just barely enough! Like the article said, washing hands with soap and water is the first choice. I also didn't know that when using sanitizer you have to use enough to keep your hands wet for over 15 seconds! I usually use barely enough to keep them wet for 10!
03-21-2006, 05:36 PM
62% is the amount that most hand sanitizers I have used contain, including the one used in the NICU where DS spent his first 3 weeks. Used correctly, this is still enough to work well.
The article says that hand washing with soap and water should be the first choice, and that's true to a point. However, our peds office told us that in order to kill the same # of germs as you would when using hand sanitizer correctly, you need to wet your hands, soap up and lather for at least 20 seconds and then rinse thoroughly, drying your hands on a disposable paper towel (a reusable towel harbors bacteria) and then shut off the faucet and open the door using the paper towel. How many people really do that?
We got the 'teach your kids to sing a short song while they wash their hands' lecture at a class I went to last month. It was specifically to work on that 20 second rule.
Speaking from experience (we have Bounty in our bathrooms) no one uses the paper towel to shut off the water or open the door. Thankfully my coworkers at least all washing their hands (in public) ;)
03-21-2006, 08:13 PM
Our hospital uses the Purell sanitizers everywhere. I see twenty patients each morning, and clean my hands before and after each encounter. If I scrubbed my hands with soap and water forty times in three hours, they'd be hamburger. Our epidemiology team actually did a study proving that the alcohol rubs were less drying. I do find I need to use soap and water once or twice because eventually you get a little buildup with constantly using the rub.
03-21-2006, 09:55 PM
Well, I do!
But that's because dh's profession has made me germophobic.
I carry a little bottle of purell with me. I stopped using the bath and body works brand because I noticed long ago it had considerably less alcohol.
03-22-2006, 09:19 AM
Strangely enough, too much alcohol also doesn't work. My mycology professor (mushroom guy) said that 90-95% alcohol doesn't kill fungal spores well because there is not enough water in it to get into the cell wall, and then the alcohol just evaporates too fast.
Weird how the "everything in moderation" rule applies to so many things!
03-22-2006, 10:01 AM
I had a friend at work who, after using the toilet, would just blatantly walk out of the bathroom without washing up, even when other people were there to witness it. I brought it up one time, and she said oh I use hand sanitizer (bath & body works) when I get back to my desk. Yeah, but what all did you touch between the toilet and your desk? Ick! And double ick, knowing now that b&bw doesn't have the minimum alcohol concentration.
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