Hand Sanitizers

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hand sanitizers are an effective tool against certain germs and are more convenient, especially when soap and water are hard to find. But are they as effective as hand washing? Dr. Edward Hill takes a look in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Relying on hand sanitizers over hand washing can be detrimental according to research from the Centers for Disease Control.

A recent study found that staff in long-term care facilities who relied too much on hand sanitizers actually reported more outbreaks of norovirus-related illness.

The study, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, looked at the use of hand sanitizers by the staff in 91 long-term care facilities. In those where the staff were equally or more likely to use the hand sanitizers over soap and water for routine hand hygiene, the chance of an outbreak was nearly six times greater.

Hand sanitizers have a form of alcohol, such as ethyl alcohol, as an active ingredient. It works as an antiseptic. Other ingredients may include water, fragrance and glycerin.

Hand sanitizers can be a very effective tool, especially when there is no water available for hand washing. The sanitizers are meant to supplement, not replace, soap and water washing, the researchers said.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.