Another study says hand sanitizer isn't the be all and end all at saving us from the creepy crawlies.
But before you start squeezing all those little dispensers down the drain, let's look at the study, shall we?
It was sponsored by Dial Soap.
Ah. Here's your grain of salt.
The study was performed by University of Virginia scientists. And they're not discounting the total efficacy of hand sanitizer -- they just say it won't prevent a cold this winter.
By their estimates, for every 100 study subjects who used hand disinfectants, there were 42 rhinovirus infections -- aka the common cold. In comparison, for every 100 test subjects who skipped the sanitizer, there were 51 colds contracted. Which isn't much of a margin.
The flu virus was about the same on either side of the fence -- whether they were using sanitizer or not.
The study calls the hand sanitizers "extra precautions," so it's not clear whether there was other hand-washing done -- something recommended by the CDC to reduce infection. Which means regular soaps aren't actually shown to be preventing the cold virus either.
We already knew the water-free wash was far from perfect -- past studies have shown you need sanitizer with a very high alcohol content ... and they still only work something like 60 percent of the time.
Which is better than not at all in my book -- especially in schools where kids rarely get a chance to wash their hands. And at the grocery store where I watch people sneeze without covering their mouths, then expect me to touch their creepy carts.
And you'll have to excuse me for not taking this study too much to heart considering the Dial Soap company's mission ... to sell soap.
Are you sold?
Image via House of Sims/Flickr