Don’t rely on the convenience of gels at the expense of soap and water
Hand sanitisers are convenient, ultra portable and do work when it comes to hand hygiene. But the gels option should never be undertaken in place of what is sometimes seen as a more “traditional” method on the grounds that “nothing beats a good scrubbing with soap and water.”
The advice is part of a report on the Penn State News website in which a family medicine physician at Penn State Health is interviewed about the importance of effective hand hygiene for everyone, particularly with the flu season soon to get underway.
Dr. Roland Newman II acknowledges the important contribution that sanitisers can make. The problem arises, he is quoted as saying, “…when users neglect traditional hand-washing in favor of the alcohol-based concoctions”.
“Washing appropriately with soap and water can actually rid your hands of more germs and – depending on what you are coming in contact with – some chemicals”.
Wash hands properly
Only a soap and water wash will proved adequate to the task when hands are physically dirty advises the article, as long as it is carried out properly.
“Wet hands with water. Add soap. Cover all surfaces.”
And the activity should take place for around twenty seconds for it to be effective (the amount of time it takes to recite the alphabet for example).
Dr Newman also flags up the worry that excessive sanitiser use can contribute to increasing problems with bacterial resistance.
Where they are broadly effective in many cases, there are certain situations where they are considerably less so, he advises.
“Not all sanitizers are effective against norovirus and some health care-related bacteria.”
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