Does hand sanitizer really work?

Soap and water for the win.

You know the drill. Someone next to you sneezes and you immediately reach for your hand sanitizer. Phew, you’re safe! But not so fast—a new study out of Japan suggests that as long as your hands are still wet with the contaminant (usually mucus), your hand sanitizer is no match for the cold and flu bugs you are trying so hard to avoid. When researchers dabbed wet mucus harvested from people infected with the flu onto the fingertips of 10 brave volunteers, and then applied hand sanitizer, the ethanol didn’t kill the virus (even when left on for a full two minutes). In contrast, the study found that washing hands with lathered soap in running water for 30 seconds killed both wet and dry flu-infected mucus. So, next time someone sneezes on you, wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.

Source: CNN Health