Newsweek: Handwashing won't stop H1N1

Hand-washing is not a solution, because most people are infected by airborne particles. Research suggests surgical masks are a much better defense.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/215435

An excerpt:


... It has become conventional wisdom that hand-washing is the best way to protect yourself from the H1N1 strain of influenza. But while hand-washing has been shown to be a great defense against the common cold and other respiratory diseases, it might not actually be that helpful against the influenza virus, including the H1N1 strain.

That's because there is virtually no evidence that people can catch the influenza virus from germs that they pick up on their hands, according to Arthur Reingold, head of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, and codirector of the CDC-funded California Emerging Infections Program. Instead, humans are most likely to catch influenza by breathing in microscopic particles exhaled by infected people.
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very interesting... i need to email this to my manager that is having me install hand sanitizers ALL THROUGH OUT THE OFFICE.
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Hand sanitizers are only adding to the problem of mutating germs. I really wish people would stop relying on them- those and the anti-bacterial soaps-- ugh. Immune systems people- eat some good food and rest!
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My first thought was: But that's what they've been telling us to do for months! But, well, I guess even the CDC learns through experience. I do think the last paragraph is important to know, especially the bolded. (I don't feel comfortable encouraging vaccines, myself.)

quote:
Nevertheless, hand-washing is still your best defense against getting sick generally this fall—colds and other respiratory diseases are no fun, even if they don't sound as scary as swine flu. For that and other flu viruses, don't seek solutions at the sink: your best chance of avoiding H1N1 this fall is to get the vaccine once it becomes available.
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sinistral55
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I think hand sanitizer is different, though....isn't it alcohol-based? I don't think hand sanitizers have actual "antibiotic" type ingredients that would contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Unless there are now antibacterial hand sanitizers...
I'm thinking Arthur Reingold owns stock in a company that produces surgical masks.

I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
This does not mean don't wash your hands. You still need to wash your hands. The problem is that you can still catch the virus from someone next to you, thus "airborne".

Washing your hands will prevent a lot of spreading.
As far as I know, Sinistral is correct that hand sanitizers are not contributing to the mutation of germs. (Unless there are now hand sanitizers with "antibiotics" -- I'm not aware of these).

Hand sanitizers are alcohol based. Alcohol has been used "forever" to kill germs. They aren't resistant to it. When you go to the doc to get a shot, the nurse wipes your skin with alcohol beforehand. This has been the practice since who knows when.
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I think hand sanitizer is different, though....isn't it alcohol-based? I don't think hand sanitizers have actual "antibiotic" type ingredients that would contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Unless there are now antibacterial hand sanitizers...
Originally Posted by sinistral55
Yep, i wrote that comment in haste-- you are (and other poster) correct re: Sanitizer. I'm down on the anti-bacterial everything.
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This does not mean don't wash your hands. You still need to wash your hands. The problem is that you can still catch the virus from someone next to you, thus "airborne".

Washing your hands will prevent a lot of spreading.
Originally Posted by violets
Of course you should wash your hands. I'm not trying to pick on you, but did you read the article? The research indicates hand-washing is not a good way to stop the spread of H1N1.

Here's another excerpt from the same Newsweek article:

"Researchers in the Netherlands used ferrets to study the transmission of H1N1 and found that the disease was efficiently transmitted by small airborne particles. An earlier study examining a different flu strain in guinea pigs found that the animals did not pick up the virus from contaminated cages. That suggests that you're not really safer from the flu virus if you scrub your hands, paws, or cages because the virus travels through the air. While there's not enough evidence to conclusively say the flu works the same way for humans, the current research suggests that the H1N1 flu travels mostly by air, not via hand-to-hand contact—and therefore won't be prevented through hand-washing."
shoulder-length 3a/b, depending on weather and products (or lack of products!)
I think hand sanitizer is different, though....isn't it alcohol-based? I don't think hand sanitizers have actual "antibiotic" type ingredients that would contribute to antibiotic resistance.

Unless there are now antibacterial hand sanitizers...
Originally Posted by sinistral55
Yep, i wrote that comment in haste-- you are (and other poster) correct re: Sanitizer. I'm down on the anti-bacterial everything.
Originally Posted by LL~2009
I dislike triclosan anti-bacterial-whatever too. But I do like travel size alcohol-based sanitizers like the 1 ounce PocketBac http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/fami...goryId=3256877 or the 2.5 oz Germ-X GermBlaster http://www.germx.com/category_detail.aspx?id=16.
It is important to point out that the seasonal flu spreads the same way H1N1 as well, it is a respiratory illness spread through droplets. I would worry more about teaching others to cover their mouth and nose when they cough or sneeze. (the best way to do this is to sneeze or cough into the crook of your arm to avoid spreading the germs to your hands) One of the largest ways people get sick from the flu and other germs is by not washing their hands and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Rather than wearing a mask i would avoid large crowded areas this flu season (think Black Friday at Walmart) practice handwashing the correct way(most people do not wash their hands the correct way which accounts for them getting sick) and carrying sanitizer to use before eating on the go. Proper handwashing instructions below..
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hand-washing/HQ00407
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Last edited by redheadmommy05; 09-22-2009 at 02:50 AM.

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