Hand Sanitizers

These days, it seems that hand sanitizers are getting a bad rap: kids eat the stuff and get sick. This is not surprising, given that they are about 60% ethyl alcohol. Just the same, as far as I know, none of these children were badly harmed—much less killed—and I’m sure they learned valuable lessons, like don’t eat cleaning products. The fact is that the benefits of hand sanitizers far out-weigh the potential risks—just like flu shots.

Recently a research paper was published by Van Camp and Ortega in Aviat Space Environment Med, 2007; 78:140-142. It is called Hand sanitizer and rates of acute illness in military aviation personnel. They found that when hand sanitizers are readily available, the level of acute illness goes down by almost 300%, with a similar decrease in the number of sick days experienced by the pilots. Many other papers find similar results.

So don’t believe any of the fears about the dangers of hand sanitizers. Aproximately 5000 children die each year in the United States in car accidents. No child has died from hand sanitizers, and I assume that some children have died because of diseases that they would not have got if they had used hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is a good thing.

But please: watch your kids after you give it to them. Maybe even let them have a tiny taste so they know that it tastes really bad. The main thing is to take care your your kinds and keep your hands off my sanitizer.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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