Wash with soap and water: hand sanitisers “may not be as effective as people think”

Hands must be washed with soap and water not sanitisers if they are dirty

Sanitisers must evaporate to work effectively says GP

Germs carrying the influenza virus can withstand the alcohol in hand sanitisers for a “very long time”, according to a recent report on the 10 Daily website in Australia.

Author Jessica Dunne refers to a recent Japanese study which reportedly demonstrates how long a period this can be for.

Research involved infecting the fingertips of ten volunteers. A hand sanitiser (ethanol based) was then applied to their fingers. It took four minutes until the virus was “fully deactivated”.

Dr Zac Turner, a GP, is quoted in the report as saying that it’s the evaporation of the product that kills many of the germs in question, and that if people don’t wait long enough for that to happen as well as failing to rub the sanitiser in, it will be of limited use.

Hands must be washed with soap and water if they are dirty

Mucus also forms a protective layer for the germs says the article, which has to be washed off.

“If you’ve got snot and saliva on your hands, and there’s a coating on the hands, the research found that hand sanitiser did next to nothing”.

Dr Turner advised that a “proper wash” (ie with soap and water, using recommended techniques for an appropriate amount of time) should occur in hospitals “after every six to eight times you use hand sanitiser”.

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