Hand sanitizers or soap and water: Which wins the handwashing debate?

Hand sanitizers or just soap and water: Who wins the handwashing debate? (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - What's better at fighting germs and keeping you from getting sick-- hand washing or hand sanitizers?

The “handwashing debate” gets an answer from Consumer Reports on Health.

Hand sanitizers are better than nothing, according to the report. They deactivate many cold and flu viruses. They are about sixty percent alcohol.

Hands down though, the “handwashing with soap and water” technique wins, since it kills germs that sanitizers don’t-- such as norovirus (which is a bad stomach bug) and Clostridium difficile or C-Diff (which cause bad gastro-intestinal distress).

It's important this time of year to wash hands often, according to public health experts, because family get-togethers are prime germ-sharing times.

“They are, they are a good place to share germs. You know, we tend to be in closer contact with our friends and family giving hugs, shaking hands, playing games, eating, enjoying food with each other, maybe even sharing food,” said Stephanie Vogel of the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

To be effective, you need to wash at least 20 seconds. That's enough to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. If you use hand sanitizer, you should rub it on the entirety of your hands and let it dry.

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