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?"


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 (1,426 Responses)
  1. trailer repair places near me

    It’s difficult to find experienced people in this particular subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 27, 2021 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. rvtv youtube


    May 27, 2021 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. camera shop california


    May 27, 2021 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Kitchen Orange County


    May 27, 2021 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Headlights Orange County

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover somebody who really understands what they are talking about on the net. You certainly understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people should read this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you aren't more popular since you definitely possess the gift.


    May 27, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Windshield Los Angeles

    Your style is very unique compared to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this web site.


    May 28, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. woodland hills body shop


    May 28, 2021 at 01:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. fiberglass repair shop near me

    Good article! We will be linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 28, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Frame Los Angeles

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the most useful websites on the internet. I am going to recommend this website!


    May 28, 2021 at 01:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv inspections near me


    May 28, 2021 at 02:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Google Marketing Agency

    Very good article. I'm experiencing some of these issues as well..


    May 28, 2021 at 02:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Flooring California


    May 28, 2021 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. RV Steps California


    May 28, 2021 at 05:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Remodeling Orange County

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read through content from other authors and use something from other websites.


    May 28, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Parts Orange County


    May 28, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. rv tire repair near me


    May 28, 2021 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. rv batteries near me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't fail me as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, however I really believed you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    May 28, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Remodel Los Angeles


    May 28, 2021 at 13:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Social Media Marketing Businesses


    May 28, 2021 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. horse trailer awning installation

    This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 28, 2021 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. watch repair san clemente

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?


    May 28, 2021 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Content Marketing Boutique

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your website!


    May 29, 2021 at 07:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Box Truck Paint Shop


    May 29, 2021 at 07:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Repair Shop

    You're so awesome! I do not believe I've read through anything like that before. So good to discover another person with some genuine thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    May 29, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Ram High Top Van Repair Shop

    I'm very pleased to find this great site. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely savored every part of it and i also have you book marked to look at new things in your site.


    May 29, 2021 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Sprinter Van Dent Repair

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 29, 2021 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Local Marketing Service

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 29, 2021 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Uhaul Truck Repair Shop Near Me

    You should take part in a contest for one of the highest quality sites on the internet. I'm going to highly recommend this website!


    May 29, 2021 at 20:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Digital Marketing Business


    May 30, 2021 at 03:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Content Marketing Consultants


    May 30, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Semi Truck Upgrades


    May 30, 2021 at 05:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Luxury Rv Shop

    This website was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something which helped me. Appreciate it!


    May 30, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Local Marketing Agencies

    Can I simply say what a relief to uncover someone that really knows what they are talking about on the net. You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people have to look at this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you aren't more popular because you certainly have the gift.


    May 30, 2021 at 10:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Content Marketing Business

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the highest quality blogs online. I will highly recommend this blog!


    May 30, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Content Marketing Specialist


    May 30, 2021 at 19:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Freight Truck Repair Shop

    There is certainly a great deal to know about this subject. I love all of the points you have made.


    May 30, 2021 at 21:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Truck Windshield Replacement Shop Near Me

    When I originally commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Cheers!


    May 30, 2021 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Video Marketing Experts


    May 30, 2021 at 22:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Plumbing Repair Near Me

    I'm very happy to discover this web site. I want to to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you saved to fav to check out new things on your website.


    May 30, 2021 at 23:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Air Conditioner Repair Near Me

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I really hope to view the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own website now 😉


    May 31, 2021 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Ford Luxury Van Repair Shop


    May 31, 2021 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Camper Van Repair

    It’s difficult to find educated people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 31, 2021 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Wheelchair Van Repair

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article and the rest of the website is extremely good.


    May 31, 2021 at 02:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Furnace Repair Near Me

    Hi there, I believe your website could be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, great site!


    May 31, 2021 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Appliance Repair Near Me

    It’s hard to come by experienced people in this particular subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 31, 2021 at 07:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Mercedes Sprinter Van Service Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody else getting the same RSS problems? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 31, 2021 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. wholesale nhl jerseys free shipping

    Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice while you
    amend your site, how could i subscribe for a weblog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny
    bit familiar of this your broadcast offered brilliant transparent idea http://Lennoxjdgcfu2.Mee.nu/?entry=3205319 http://rileysodjhzaa4.mee.nu/?entry=3205516 http://Ellisontq.Mee.nu/?entry=3205282

    my website – wholesale nhl jerseys free shipping

    May 31, 2021 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Dodge Van Frame Repair Kit


    May 31, 2021 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Gmc High Top Van Repair

    There's certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I really like all of the points you've made.


    May 31, 2021 at 19:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Touring Van Repair Shop


    May 31, 2021 at 20:58 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Leave a Reply to RV Repair San Clemente California


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
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.