Bodywork that's more than skin deep

Massage therapy is just one part of a healing regimen. Yoga or daily stretching and breathing exercises are key elements in preventing injury, reducing stress and maintaining overall health. They extend the benefits of massage treatments! A balanced diet, exercise, plenty of water and laughter are also important aspects in a healthy lifestyle.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Purell vs. Handwashing

 Most alcohol gels on the market, like Purell, follow a basic formula: ethyl alcohol, water, a skin moisturizer, and some type of fragrance. The alcohol itself kills 99% of germs on the outer layer of skin while the moisturizer ensures that the skin is not irritated by the alcohol.  The contact with the alcohol and friction of the hand rubbing allows the sanitizer to work into  the nooks and crannies of our hands. But what about the other 1% of germs?

No matter how effective hand sanitizers are, they are not intended to replace hand washing with soap and water.  They will not remove dirt and oils on your skin, where bacterias live and reproduce.
But, soap alone will not kill germs either, unless antimicrobial agents are added to it. The use of soap and water mechanically dislodges microbes from your hands, which is why 20 seconds of hand washing, followed by thorough rinsing, is recommended by the CDC. When you use Purell, the alcohol kills the germs by dehydration. Essentially, water gets drawn from the microbes, and this is what kills them. ( Ingrid Koo, Ph.D)

Washing your hands with soap and water is important not only for getting rid of germs, but also for washing away other toxic products and chemicals you may come in contact with. Purell may kill the germs, but the dirt stays.

So use Purell (or whatever brand) in moderation and don’t forget the importance of soap and water (warm to hot) with friction for 20 seconds!

Sources: Koo, Ingrid Ph.d, Infectious Diseases Blog, "Purell: Friend or Foe?" 

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