Healthy Living

Do Hand Sanitizers Really Work Against Disease-Causing Germs?

Though a research conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers hand sanitizers to be as effective as washing your hands with soap and water, it has a limit to what germs it can only eradicate and what it can't.

Hand sanitizers can’t protect you from salmonella, e. Coli, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and norovirus.

Salmonella , e. Coli, norovirus and MRSA are diseases that can spread from people to people. It causes diarrhea, such in the cases of salmonella and e. Coli, which is potentially life-threatening when it becomes severe.

However, it can be prevented when you wash your hands with soap and water especially after using the toilet or preparing food.

Norovirus is a common illness that can be contracted in cruise ships as it is easily transmitted between passengers and staff. It is the chief cause of "stomach flu" symptoms that hand sanitizers can't simply kill.

The CDC still strongly recommends that passengers should clean their hands with soap and water, and not with hand sanitizers despite provided in abundance throughout the boat.

On the other hand, MRSA causes skin infections and sometimes, pneumonia. It is caused by a staph infection that is hard to treat because of its grown resistance to some antibiotics. 

It is abundant in the healthcare settings such as in hospitals, and hand washing by the use of soap and water can also prevent the spread of the disease.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can also be used to get rid of the bacteria causing the MRSA but just be certain it contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean the hands.

If someone around you is vomiting and experiencing diarrhea or known to be infected with MRSA, immediately clean your hands with soap and water observing proper hand washing techniques to eradicate the germs that you may have contracted because hand sanitizers won't simply do the job.

Hand sanitizers with 60 percent alcohol can be a convenient alternative since it could easily be hand-carried. However, washing your hands vigorously with soap and water for a matter of 20 seconds remains a more effective method at killing germs.

Hand Sanitizers May Actually Not Work For Kids Kids still get sick and rack up absences even if they use hand sanitizers in the classroom. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock