Masonboro Urgent Care's Health Tip: HAND WASHING VS HAND SANITIZER. WHICH IS BEST?

By / Health and Wellness / Monday, 30 January 2017 05:00

As Americans are in the height of influenza season we constantly being reminded to wash our hands. Then the question arises what should we wash with. Is antibacterial soap better than regular soap and do hand sanitizers really work??
Antibacterial hand sanitizers are marketed as an effective way to wash your hands when traditional soap and water are not available. Manufacturers of hand sanitizers claim they kill 99.9% of germs. Research suggests that this is not the case.
Hand sanitizers work by stripping the outer layer of oil on the skin. This usually prevents the bacteria present in the body from coming to the surface of the hand.  But the bacteria in the body is generally not the type that makes us sick.  Hand sanitizers can be a useful alternative when the option of using soap and water is not available. An alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol should be used to ensure that germs are killed.
But what about antibacterial soaps? Research on the use of consumer antibacterial soaps has shown that plain soaps are just as effective as antibacterial soaps in reducing bacterial related illnesses. In fact some antibacterial soap products may increase bacterial resistance.
The bottom line …….. washing your hands properly with plain soap and water is reported to be as effective at preventing infectious illnesses as using over the counter antibacterial soaps or even hand sanitizers. Soap and water physically remove the germs from your hands. Washing your hands for at least 30 seconds (remember singing the Happy Birthday song or saying your ABC’s is about 30 seconds) can remove 99% of the germs and to help prevent you from illnesses. And remember if you have questions about germs and illnesses contact your healthcare provider today for an appointment.

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