Doctors say hand sanitizers effective against H1N1 - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Doctors say hand sanitizers effective against H1N1

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PORLTAND, Ore . - Spend some time with toddlers and you'll notice their little hands are everywhere; touching, tapping and grabbing.

To fight the spread of germs many parents are armed with hand sanitizer.

The liquid gel has become a staple for a lot of moms and dads.

With concerns about swine flu, or H1N1 virus, using hand sanitizer has become even more popular.

Bottles of the alcohol-based formula are almost everywhere, from offices to college campuses, but does it really work?

Hand washing 10 times per day may help keep flu away: Medications, personal hygiene, mask-wearing and quarantines all help prevent the spread of viral infections such as the flu, and researchers now suggest that the latter three strategies should be given more attention in plans to deal with pandemics. >>More

Doctors say yes.

"I would say people should use it several times a day, three or four times a day," says Dr. Paul Sehdev with Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Experts on infectious disease suggest that most hand sanitizers kill 99 percent of bacteria, if used correctly.

"Typically, it is about two squirts, and you want to rub it in all over your hands, up under your finger nails if possible and you want to keep rubbing it until your hands are completely dry," Dr. Sehdev explains.

Doctors add there's no risk of overuse.

"It is not dangerous to you, it is not toxic to you, it can be drying to your hands, but probably less drying than soap to be honest," says Dr. Sehdev. "It is not likely that bacteria are going to be resistant to it, because it is such a high concentration of alcohol."

Experts say as long as the alcohol content is above 60 percent it will work at killing swine flu and other nasty bugs.

They add that hand sanitizer should be used along with regular hand washing.

A little soap and water goes a long way toward preventing the spread of germs.
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