Research shows hand sanitizers more effective against cold

University Medical School researchers concluded Wednesday that hand sanitizing is more effective against fighting the common cold than hand washing.\nThe research, fully funded by The Dial Corporation in Scottsdale, Ariz., was divided into two experiments.

During the first experiment, researchers placed a virus on volunteers' hands and asked them to clean their hands either using water, using soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.\n"While the hand washing removed the virus, [it] is statistically significantly worse than hand sanitizers [used] just for removal of viruses from hands," said Pediatrics Prof. Ron Turner.

The second experiment exclusively dealt with hand sanitizers, comparing regular, alcohol-based hand sanitizers to hand sanitizers containing organic acids. An organic acid, such as malic or citric acid, "lowers the pH on the hands and inactivates [viruses] over a period of time," Turner said.

The studies showed that hand sanitizers containing organic acids continued to work far after application of the sanitizer, killing viruses up to four hours later.

Though alcohol-based sanitizers do kill the virus, they do not continue to protect against viruses through longer periods of time, Turner said.

-compiled by Sofia Economopoulos

Published March 26, 2010 in News


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