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March 2003 Issue

Alcohol Hand Gels Get Thumbs Up (But Soap and Water Fine Too)

Q. I heard that alcohol-based hand gels are now being used in hospitals to prevent the spread of infection. Should I use them at home too? A. Itís not necessary; the benefit is probably not worth the cost. Still, in updated handwashing guidelines issued last October for healthcare workers, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledged the effectiveness of alcohol-based hand sanitizers for instantly killing potentially harmful microbes on the skin. Studies have found they work as well as,

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