Research shows nothing beats good old-fashioned hand-washing.
You see them everywhere, especially during the winter months — hand sanitizer dispensers on every wall or tabletop, especially in hospitals, nursing homes and schools.
Hand sanitizers work extremely well at preventing norovirus infection, which causes vomiting and diarrhea and is highly contagious. However, research shows nothing beats good old-fashioned hand-washing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said to stop the spread of norovirus, “washing hands is your best prevention, especially after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, and before eating and doing food prep.”
Aaron E. Glatt, M.D., a spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America, says sanitizers may help, but “they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.”
A CDC study of 91 long-term care facilities showed those that used hand sanitizers more often than hand-washing were six times more likely to have an outbreak of norovirus. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use hand sanitizers. They are very effective, especially when a place to wash your hands is not available.