home
RSS
May 7th, 2009
11:39 AM ET

Does hand sanitizer kill bacteria and viruses?

As a new feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors will answer readers’ questions. Here’s a question for Dr. Gupta.

From CNN.com blogger, Dick:

"Hand sanitizer has been recommended but the bottles say, "Effective against bacteria," with no mention of viruses. What gives?"

Answer:

That is a good question. There are not a lot of data actually on how effective those sanitizers are against viruses. There have been some studies done over the years and the conclusion is washing your hands with soap and water is still probably the best idea. If you are having a busy day and it is hard to get to a sink, then carrying a bottle of hand sanitizer would be a good idea.

In essence, it makes your hands very inhospitable to viruses. You put it on your hands and viruses simply don't want to cling to it. So it does reduce the amount of a virus that can cling to your hand but it does not kill it. Alternatively, it also can’t harm you in any way. We get a lot of questions from concerned viewers asking if sanitizers could actually cause antibiotic resistance down the road. Many studies have looked into the issue and all evidence points to the answer being no.

At the end of the day, basic principles apply to avoid getting a virus. Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose as much as possible. If you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve. If you're sick, stay home and avoid close contact with others. Some viruses can live for hours on surfaces such as ATMs, doorknobs, even money.

So be methodical about good hygiene, all year long! Remember that the number of 2009 H1N1 cases will most likely decrease over the summer months because viruses just don't transmit that well in the heat. But in the fall and winter, we're all going to have to remember what the new H1N1 strain was like and be extra vigilant so this doesn't get out of control.


Next entry »
« Previous entry
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. 우리카지노

    우리카지노

    https://cabelas.cc

    January 15, 2021 at 00:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Renaldo Fichtner

    Thanks so much the information. I love sucking dick btw hmu

    https://t.co/vRTxZBqdGs

    January 15, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Oliver Trinka

    great issues altogether, you just received a emblem new reader. What might you recommend in regards to your submit that you made some days ago? Any positive?

    https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/

    January 16, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3

Leave a Reply to Adrienne Arlette


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Next entry »
« Previous entry
Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.