Is there a case for ‘antibacterial’ hand sanitisers?
Australian infectious diseases expert warns of the dangers of antibacterial soaps – and why they’re not really necessary.
Antibacterial soaps are under fire at the moment, with many recent media reports highlighting plans by the US Food and Drug Administration to determine whether such products actually work. An article in The Conversation suggests that soap and water may be the more effective approach.
Trent Yarwood, an Infectious Diseases Physician and Associate Lecturer at the University of Queensland, is concerned about repeated use of such ‘antibacterial’ products:- “Any microbiologist will tell you that prolonged exposure of bugs to low concentrations of antimicrobials is the textbook way of breeding resistance.”
“So, does the average house and family need to armour up in the war against germs? I have to say probably not.
“Good hygiene is important in preventing disease — and hand washing is part of that… But the benefits of these products over soap and water (apart from the portability of gels) have not been shown outside the hospital setting.
“Break the marketing cycle of germ panic and reach for the plain old soap.”
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