As the flu circulates around Gustavus and fears of Coronavirus circulate
... a few facts to keep in mind.
1. We humans love the new and exotic, products we think are "better". However, basic handwashing- good old soap and water are effective. Here is a link to an article by the FDA spelling out that: THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS ARE ANY MORE EFFECTIVE THAN REGULAR SOAP-- and in fact antibacterial soaps can have harmful effects. Scientific American article "Strange but True Antibacterial Products May Do More Harm than Good" (please note this article is dated and the FDA has since banned at least 24 substances in antibacterial products due to such concerns). Other than this ban, there are no standards for hand sanitizing products.
2. WHAT ABOUT HAND SANITIZERS? Generally, handwashing is considered the best and first line of protection. Hand sanitizers are not meant to replace handwashing but generally recommended for use AFTER having washed your hands (and washing all regions of your hands thoroughly- like for as long as it takes to say the alphabet). This article by the CDC spells out some of the limitations of hand sanitizers. My paraphrase: they don't kill all germs, they don't work as well if your hands are dirty, they need to have at least 60% alcohol content to be effective- read below thought that bacteria are becoming resistant to alcohol, they don't remove harmful chemicals from the hands, and they often contain harmful chemicals.
3. HAND SANITIZER AND RESISTANCE. There is new evidence that the use of alcohol in cleansing products/hand sanitizers is now leading organisms to develop resistance to alcohol.
hmm- handwashing so simple, tried and true and still a good answer!
4. Lastly...Please remember that vinegar is a great non-toxic cleaning product.
However do not mix vinegar with bleach that results in toxic gas release. this link also mentions 6 other mixtures you should never make : vinegar and baking soda, bleach and ammonia, drain cleaners, hydrogen peroxide and vinegar, bleach and rubbing alcohol.
Stay Healthy and keep washing those hands!
image below from the CDC: