I was hard core blanking when trying to think of a third and final topic for this blog period. The other two came to me very quickly but this time it was a little bit more difficult for me to come up with something on the spot. I started scanning my dorm for inspiration and I saw hand sanitizer sitting on my roommates desk and immediately started thinking about all of the germs that are covering this huge college campus. I remembered my past week of rushing sororities and the hundreds of hands a shook and began to realize how easy it is to get sick here. After all of my rush days I found myself using hand sanitizer and thinking that all the germs from the many different girls had left my hands. However, as I was thinking about hand sanitizer from a more scientific perspective in a mindset caused from writing these blogs, I began to question its effectiveness and if it can replace regular hand washing.
As I read up on this topic I learned that using hand sanitizer cannot completely replace washing your hands regularly with soap and water. First of all, when you have dirt or something else that you want to wash off your hand and you are not necessarily worried about germs at the moment, hand sanitizer will not help nearly as well as washing with soap and water (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A more serious reason that hand sanitizer is not an equal substitute for hand washing is because it does not work against some very serious infections, which is explained in further detail here.
The most important thing to take into account when purchasing or using hand sanitizers is the alcohol concentration. If it is not at least 60% alcohol than it is not only ineffective, it also has negative effects. One of the negative effects of sanitizers with not enough alcohol is that they can increase a germ’s resistance, which is completely countering the exact reason you are using the sanitizer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
- Do not think that you can replace the routine washing of your hands with the application of hand sanitizer
- When using hand sanitizer, make sure it has an alcohol concentration of at least 60% !!!!