Focus: Infection Control

Study: Hand-washing better at killing flu than sanitizer

May 14, 2020

A recent study has found that hand-washing, even without soap, is more effective at killing influenza A virus than alcohol-based hand sanitizers, according to an article on the Becker's Clinical Leadership and Infection Control website.

Researchers from the Kyoto (Japan) Profectural University of Medicine found that ethanol-based hand sanitizers must be in contact with influenza A for at least four minutes to completely kill the virus. 

Mucus surrounding influenza A virus droplets protect it from the ethanol in sanitizers.

If soap and water are not available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended clinicians use ethanol-based disinfectants for at least 15-30 seconds as an effective hand hygiene practice. 

Read the article.

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