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. camper furniture replacement


    May 12, 2021 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Slide Out Riverside

    I could not refrain from commenting. Very well written!


    May 12, 2021 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Cabinet California


    May 12, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Ford Connect Van Floor Repair

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you need to publish more on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject but typically people don't discuss these issues. To the next! All the best!!


    May 12, 2021 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. collision repair shop near me


    May 12, 2021 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Cabinet Los Angeles

    I'm very pleased to uncover this great site. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and i also have you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff in your site.


    May 13, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. orange skye body and beauty bar

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. Spending some time and actual effort to make a superb article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and don't seem to get anything done.


    May 13, 2021 at 02:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. trailer services near me


    May 13, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Repair Riverside

    I could not resist commenting. Perfectly written!


    May 13, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv dashboard replacement

    This website truly has all the information and facts I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 13, 2021 at 06:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. rv furniture near me


    May 13, 2021 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. motorhome rentals orange county


    May 13, 2021 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. horse trailer repair

    Everyone loves it when individuals come together and share opinions. Great website, stick with it!


    May 13, 2021 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. motorhome repair shops


    May 13, 2021 at 13:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. esurance rv

    Very good information. Lucky me I discovered your site by accident (stumbleupon). I've book-marked it for later!


    May 13, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. rv furniture san diego

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also the rest of the site is also very good.


    May 13, 2021 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. horse trailer service

    You've made some good points there. I checked on the net to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    May 13, 2021 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. RV Driver Seats Orange County


    May 13, 2021 at 17:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Inspection Riverside


    May 13, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Refrigerator Los Angeles

    You're so awesome! I don't believe I've truly read a single thing like that before. So good to discover another person with a few genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that's needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!


    May 13, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 2007 Sprinter Rear Heater Repair


    May 13, 2021 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. rv generator repair near me

    This is the perfect web site for anyone who wants to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that's been written about for many years. Wonderful stuff, just great!


    May 13, 2021 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. kenworth shop near me

    There's definately a great deal to find out about this issue. I love all of the points you have made.


    May 13, 2021 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. rv repair fort bragg ca

    Saved as a favorite, I love your website!


    May 13, 2021 at 20:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 2016 Sprinter Mirror Repair

    I really love your website.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own site and want to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is named. Many thanks!


    May 13, 2021 at 21:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv parts in san diego


    May 13, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. california girl pics

    Oh my goodness! Awesome article dude! Thank you, However I am going through troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 13, 2021 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 2006 Mercades Sprinter 2500 Turbo Actuator Repair

    You made some really good points there. I looked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    May 13, 2021 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. orange county collision

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day. It's always helpful to read through articles from other writers and practice a little something from their websites.


    May 13, 2021 at 23:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. body shop orange ca

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your web site!


    May 13, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Flooring Los Angeles


    May 14, 2021 at 00:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Tires California


    May 14, 2021 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Mercedes Sprinter Brake Caliper Repair Kit

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


    May 14, 2021 at 01:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. camper furniture replacement


    May 14, 2021 at 01:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Windows Near Me


    May 14, 2021 at 02:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. stornobrzinol

    Very interesting subject, regards for putting up. "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." by Lisa Grossman.


    May 14, 2021 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. horse hauler motorhome


    May 14, 2021 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. auto paint supplies orange county

    You're so interesting! I do not believe I have read a single thing like this before. So wonderful to find somebody with unique thoughts on this topic. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is something that is needed on the web, someone with some originality!


    May 14, 2021 at 04:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. horse trailer repair

    It’s hard to find experienced people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 14, 2021 at 06:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. tow truck repair


    May 14, 2021 at 06:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. tire stores in orange county ca


    May 14, 2021 at 06:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. oc rv storage

    There is certainly a lot to find out about this issue. I like all the points you made.


    May 14, 2021 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Van Sliding Door Repair


    May 14, 2021 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. rv appliance repair near me

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this web site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!


    May 14, 2021 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. orange county collision

    I wanted to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book marked to look at new things you post…


    May 14, 2021 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. rv interior repair

    Howdy, I do think your web site may be having web browser compatibility problems. When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in I.E., it's got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, fantastic site!


    May 14, 2021 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Roof Near Me

    Hi, There's no doubt that your web site could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Other than that, great blog!


    May 14, 2021 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Maintenance California

    After exploring a number of the blog articles on your site, I seriously appreciate your technique of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and let me know what you think.


    May 14, 2021 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Eye Glasses 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 14, 2021 at 16:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Eye Glasses Near Me

    I wanted to thank you for this very good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I've got you saved as a favorite to look at new things you post…


    May 14, 2021 at 16:14 | 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 Windshield Repair Near Me


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.