Can You Build Up an Immunity to Hand Sanitizer ?


| 3 Comments
Every time I cough, am around someone who coughs, touch anything on a bus, or feel like I'm in a "germy" area, I use hand sanitizer. One day, my teacher told me he thought I used it too often and said my body would become immune to it if I used it too often. I never payed too much attention to it, but now that I ride the bus constantly, I feel like I'm using hand sanitizer even more frequently and I wonder if what he said was true.

While I researched this, I discovered some interesting things. There are certain types of bacterias on our hands and body that aren't bad types of bacteria. By "killing" off these types of bacteria, we're actually doing harm to our immune system because certain types of bacteria help our immune system to develop and become stronger. We're constantly being exposed to germs on a daily basis, so killing them on our hands isn't going to help us get better.

How well do these sanitizers actually work if we're using them sparingly? According to an article on Boston Magazine, these products are extremely useful when it comes to cleaning surfaces such as phones, keyboards, laptops, and other high-touch surfaces, but when it comes to our hands, soap and water are the number one thing to use. If our hands are visibly dirty, hand sanitizer isn't the thing to use. When there is actual dirt, you need to scrub your hands clean. IF you're on the go, hand sanitizer is a good choice to fight that bacteria in the moment.

So, technically, no you cannot build up an immunity to hand sanitizer, but it's better to not use it 24/7 than to use it all the time. Like most things, it's good for you in small doses. So if you can't use soap and water, don't be afraid to use hand sanitizer, but if you're like me, don't use it 6+ times a day. 

hand-sanitizers-are-bad-for-your-health-just-say-no-1.jpg

3 Comments

I do worry about the overuse of hand sanitizer but probably because I worry about the over use of antibiotics. I never thought of the idea of us becoming immune to hand sanitizer since I'm more afraid of strains of bacteria becoming immune to it due to its constant use. I hadn't realized there are bacteria on our hands that are good for us and can help stop other harmful bacteria from getting into our body. It's also interesting that it's still useful to sanitize objects but not as useful to sanitize ourselves.


Source about antibiotics from the CDC:
http://www.cdc.gov/features/getsmart/

I completely agree- nothing replaces good old soap and water. Two similar studies proved this. The first study involved 16 schools in 4 different states and tested alcohol hand sanitizer on absenteeism due to sickness.
Overall absenteeism was reduced by 19.8% for schools that used an alcohol gel hand sanitizer compared with the control schools who did nothing.
In the other study, absenteeism and hand washing was studied. 290 students in 5 schools were studied and a handwashing program was implemented. Absenteeism was 50.6% lower in the test group than the control group.

http://www.ajicjournal.org/article/S0196-6553(00)84010-9/abstract
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0196655302681313

While I was in middle school I remember the Swine Flu outbreak and how everyone was really cautious and scared about catching the flu. Schools, parents, and pretty much everywhere you went there was hand sanitizer being given out. I always heard two stories about how hand sanitizer wasn’t even effective and about how well it fought off germs. It has always been a constant debate with so many theories I don’t know which one to believe. I personally think we overuse hand sanitizer because if you think about the amount of places you go, its everywhere. I think I could find hand sanitizer easier than I could find a water fountain in most establishments. Hand sanitizer was first used at petting zoos because of the amount of bacteria that is present at petting zoos. Click Here to read more about how using hand sanitizer can negatively affect your immune system and allow germs to build their own strength.

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