How Long Do Hand Sanitizers Work After You Apply Them?

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  • Most people do not know how long the antimicrobial effects of hand sanitizers last
  • Researchers revealed that sanitizers last just a few minutes after you apply them
  • The best way to keep pathogens away is to wash your hands thoroughly

Do you always bring along with you a hand sanitizer?

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Hand sanitizer has become a staple for many people as concerns grow over the spread of the coronavirus. Most people do not know how long the antimicrobial effects of these products last, but researchers revealed that sanitizers last just a few minutes after you apply them.

“Alcohol sanitizers last only a minute or two and must be reapplied when recontamination occurs,” said Philip Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center.

According to Len Horovitz, attending physician and internist at Lenox Hill Hospital, the best thing to do really is wash with soap and water.

This does not mean that sanitizers are useless. People may still want to use sanitizers if they touched items dirtier than a toilet seat.

In a 2010 study, researchers also found that office workers who use alcohol-based sanitizers at least five times a day have two-thirds reduced risk of getting sick compared with their colleagues who just wash their hands as usual.

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The U.S Food and Drug Administration has nonetheless raised concerns about the use of hand sanitizers. The agency wants more scientific evidence to prove that these products are indeed safe and effective as most people think. It also wants to find out if sanitizers do not pose harm to pregnant women and children.

Don’t fret when you can’t find hand sanitizers on the store shelves. As people hoard on such items to protect themselves from getting sick, remember that the best way to keep pathogens away is to wash your hands thoroughly.

Experts advise lathering the hands with soap for 20 to 30 seconds; ensuring to get in between the fingers and the back of the hands.