Hand Sanitizer: Can It be Bad for You?

Can overusing Hand Sanitizer be bad for you?

Hand Sanitizer can be good for you, you all know that. What you probably didn’t know are the factors that would cause it to be harmful instead of helpful.


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Hand sanitizer comes in many different brands. Every brand has a different concentration of alcohol. While you should use 60 to 90 percent, some brands sell with even lower concentration. You’d think this would be good for your health right? WRONG! If your hand sanitizer doesn’t kill most germs, then they will slowly develop immunity to it. It’s a good idea to wash your hands after you put hand sanitizer anyway. http://images.stanzapub.com/readers/2009/08/05/handwashing_1.jpg

Think of a kid getting a shot for the flu. The shot contains small enough amounts of the flu to not be lethal and at the same time, get his body ready to fight it off the second time. Although the point of the shot isn’t to kill the kid, even if it feels that way, my point is still valid. If the gel doesn’t have enough punch to kill the bacteria, it just spreads it around. Kind of like washing your hands with soap without drying them.. I think.

http://images.stanzapub.com/readers/2009/08/05/flushot_1.jpg

Image via Goggle

It’s also a bad idea to overuse hand sanitizer because of the aforementioned reason. Bacteria will eventually build up immunity. This happens because hand sanitizer cannot kill 100% of the germs. The ones that survive eventually mutant. When you try to kill them again, the percent will decrease again. It’s a viscous cycle. Overuse can also damage your natural protection as well.

http://images.stanzapub.com/readers/2009/08/05/11906839333wh4ui_1.jpg

Good luck trying not to get sick and use your hand sanitizer wisely.

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  1. Nice view, never thought of it in that way.

  2. Very informative.

  3. well next time I will check the concentration figure if its’ present on the hand sanitizer label. Thanks for informing me.

  4. I’ve also heard that heavy users can actually get alcohol poisoning from it being absorbed through their skin.

  5. ^Comment above me^
    Yes I have heard that too.

  6. I work at a fitness center where this stuff is over used I do believe.Being a janitor,I stopped using it after I found out its not good for you like one thinks.But Stephens comment I did not know about,Ill use soap and water from now on if I’m not wearing gloves.

  7. I’m glad for the info you share.=) I don’t get used to sanitizers but rather frequent washing of hands.

  8. Would you prefer a spray product formulated from soap & water?

  9. lol, where is your medical/scientific evidence for this?

    Are you a doctor?

    Have you spent any time in a hospital at all? Doctors and nurses use this stuff constantly all day long, yet you know something they don’t? Please let us know how you came about this information.

    I know, I have a thought, so I’ll write an article about it, post it as fact, and see how many people I can get to follow my uninformed lead. If any of you have a concern about this, please consult your own physician.

  10. Thank you, Jay. I actually came across this article while researching some of the different opinions people have on this topic. I’m looking for good, hard science. This article is useless. I’m definitely not trusting anyone who can’t even write properly. “The ones that survive eventually mutant?” “It’s a viscous cycle?”

  11. Just as an FYI, bacteria don’t become resistant/immune to ethanol. It is a chemical, not an antibacterial. There are no “ethanol resistance” genes meaning there are no selective pressures. If a bacteria cell survives an ethanol treatment, it is because you are not using high enough ethanol concentration or you didn’t apply to that specific area.

    On a side note, if someone has a published article stating that bacterial CAN become resistance to ethanol, i would love to read it (but i’m 99.99999% sure i’m correct)

  12. This article has gross inaccuracies – hand sanitizers are not the same as antibacterial products (which are actually considered pesticides).

    The use of alcohol based hand sanitizers does NOT cause bacteria to mutate – but antibacterial products do.

    Antibacterial products weaken our immune system and create powerful strains of super germs and bacteria. And they don’t protect from viruses, but might actually be worsening asthma, allergies and other health issues. Plus when they are washed down the drain they enter our waterways which cause environmental health problems for us and other living things.

    This article reposted on Forecast Earth, fleshes out the risks of using antibacterial soaps. In one study, a standard strain of E. coli had to be bathed in store-bought antibacterial soap for a minimum of two hours before being killed! Mutated strains survived for twice as long.

    The good news is that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a different product all-together and they do kill germs on hands quickly and will not cause germs to become resistant to antibiotics, reports the City of Ottawa.

    Verdict? Wash your hands with regular soap, in warm water for 20 seconds and don’t forget to dry them thoroughly using a paper hand towel or air dryer. Do this as often as possible throughout the day. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when you do not have access to soap and a sink.

  13. Absolute BS. Bacteria do not mutate from low dosage alcohol nor do they become resistant to alcohol. They can become resistant to antibiotics…but there are NO sanitizers on the market that contain antibiotics.

    Second, the flu shots we get do not contain small amounts of live flu. They are either whole killed virus or portions of the virus (the antigenic proteins). This has absolutely nothing to do with the killing of bacteria on your hands. A flu shot is given to raise antibodies to the strains of flu that are seasonal. Hand sanitizers are used to kill bacteria on your hands. You are not raising antibodies through some form of hand gel.

    Complete misinformation.

  14. http://www.mynews4.com/story.php?id=6088

    Read this article. it makes a lot more sense the nonsense written here.

  15. To compare popular brands of hand sanitizers and dispensers try this website http://www.hand-sanitizer-dispenser-review.com.

  16. oh my gosh i didnt konw that you should wash you hands after using handsanitizer i thought hand sanitizer killed all the germs for every time i usehand sanitizer i will wash my hands

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