When it comes to cleaning one's hands in a healthcare setting, the general rule of thumb is to use soap and water to wash hands if they are visibly soiled. Otherwise, hand sanitizer is sufficient. Let’s take a closer look at this rule.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of microbes on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sinitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
The CDC experts explain that hand sanitizers with an alcohol concentration of 60 percent to 95 percent are very effective at killing germs and, therefore, can reduce the number of microbes on a person's hands quickly and easily. Experts warn that hand sanitizers don't eliminate all bacteria, and they caution that soap and water is more effective against specific types of germs, such as norovirus.
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