Do you think hand sanitizers are effective against flu?


I see sanitizers everywhere in every shape and form.  You can find sanitizers in small dispense bottles, pen shaped sprays and what not.  The fact is last year’s swine flu epidemic, skyrocketed the sales of hand sanitizers.  Hand sanitizer is believed to keep you away from flu virus by maintaining a adequate hygiene.  Dr. Ronald B. Turner, University of Virgina found that hand sanitizer was not as effective in warding off the flu as thought.  As a matter of fact, hand sanitizer failed to eliminate rhinovirus, which is a major cause of common cold.

About the research
A study was lead by Dr. Turner in which he tested hand sanitizers in real-world conditions:

  • 116 volunteers were asked to carry around a sanitizer with “enhanced antiviral activity” and use it every three hours while they were awake.
  • The results were compared with second  group of 96 volunteers, who followed their usual routines.
  • Participants were tracked for 10 weeks, collecting specimens once a week to test for flu and rhinovirus.
  • If a participant complained of cold or flu-like symptoms, additional samples were taken.

The results were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy in Boston. The study...

was funded by the Dial Corp., which makes hand sanitizers and old-school soap.

Results of the study
The study showed that

  • sanitizer users developed 12 flu infections per 100 volunteers, while in case of group that did not do anything special reported 15 cases of flu per 100 volunteers
  • 42 cases of rhinovirus per 100 volunteers were reported among the sanitizer users, versus 51 for the control group.
  • Neither difference was statistically significant.

The study concluded that the more than likely the flu virus is not transmitted through hand as previously thought.  The question that researchers posed is that if not by hand, what is the primary mode for transmission of flu?  Health officials should investigate the major causes of flu virus, so that infections can be averted.

Source: LA Times

3 Responses

  1. Flu says:

    Aside from wondering how the flu virus spreads, I think it’s of equal importance to understand that instant hand sanitizers only fight germs and bacteria for up to two minutes. Many experts are saying that you can easily contract an illness through germ contact just a few minutes after applying instant hand sanitizer. In addition, experts say that a thorough 30 second hand-washing with soap and water is superior to instant hand sanitizers for fighting infection. There are, however, hand sanitizers available formulated to fight germs and bacteria for up to four hours.

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