Do Purell and Other Bacteria Killing Products Really Help Prevent the Spread of Disease?

Winter is here, and cold weather is starting to set in. For many, that means concerns about germs during cold and flu season. Millions of people (not to mention the nation’s top doctors and hospitals) have come to rely heavily on alcohol-based gel hand sanitizers such as Purell to stay germ-free through the winter and beyond. However, research shows that these products might not be as helpful as many of us have been led to believe.

Hand sanitizers such as Purell generally contain some form of alcohol, which acts as an antiseptic. That means that these products can effectively eliminate some bacteria and viruses that can cause infections. However, they won’t kill every single disease-causing germ that you might pick up over the course of your day. Additionally, if your hands are particularly dirty, simple hand sanitizer alone won’t do the trick – you should be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap.

Obviously, alcohol-based hand sanitizers such as Purell should have a place in your (and your doctor and hospital’s) armormentarium, but don’t rely on them exclusively or overestimate their bacteria-and-virus-killing powers. Not only do they fail to kill all types of germs, but they can also be rough on your skin. Importantly, they can also be hazardous to young children, since they have a very high alcohol concentration (often 60% or higher), and they can cause alcohol poisoning if swallowed. So, while doctors advise that these products can be useful, regular hand washing is still the best method for keeping the germs at bay.

See our post here for more analysis of conventional medical wisdom – you might find the insights surprising as well as compelling.

Call our experienced D.C. medical malpractice attorneys for a consultation about how you can potentially obtain compensation for errors made by your doctor, surgeon or pharmacist.