Here's How Doctors and Nurses Actually Protect Themselves From the Flu
Health care professionals are basically surrounded by germs. So, when they offer up advice, we listen.We spoke with medical experts in private practices, ERs, hospitals, and urgent care facilities around the country to find out how they protect themselves from the flu—and how you can, too.
NEW YORK — The sound of dispensing is music to Molly McGarry's ears. "It's quick and easy to clean your hands," she says. Hand sanitizer sales are up 37 percent over last year, and millions of people use it multiple times a day, . But are we relying on it too much?
At one time, hand sanitizer dispensers were only in hospitals like the one where McGarry and her colleague Jill Coletti work.
"To decrease overall transmission of infections among patients and from patients to healthcare workers," said Dr. Suraj Saggar, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Holy Name Medical Center.
The Surprising Place Where You're Likely to Encounter Germs at the Airport
The case for breaking out the hand sanitizer before reaching your boarding gate.In late 2017, the team at website insuranceQuotes checked out three major U.S. airports, as well as the planes used on several flights, to gauge which areas were the most germ-filled. They conducted 18 swab tests across six surfaces (including airport water fountains and plane armrests), then used lab analysis to measure the average number of colony-forming units (CFU), a standard measurement for the number of viable bacteria and fungal cells per square inch of a surface area.
But now, hand sanitizing dispensers are stationed everywhere.
"I use it constantly, I carry it in my purse, it's on my desk at work. I have it in my car," said Coletti.
"It's become like an accessory," said McGarry.
But just how much of a necessity is this popular accessory? "It's not the end all, be all," Saggar said.
He explained that hand sanitizers work by removing the top layer of oil from our hands, taking with it some bacteria and viruses that cause the common cold, , even the . If your hands are dirty, doctors say hand sanitizers will not clean them, and there are certain illnesses hand sanitizers cannot prevent.
"So things like the , E. coli, , these sanitizers are not effective against," said Saggar.
The FDA is currently reviewing the ingredients in these products and says right now there is no evidence that hand sanitizers are any more effective than regular soap and water in helping to prevent the spread of germs.
199 Norovirus Cases Have Been Confirmed at the 2018 Winter Olympics
Five more cases of norovirus have been reported at the Pyeongchang Olympics, bringing the total confirmed cases to 199 since the beginning of the month. Of the new cases reported Tuesday, two are in Pyeongchang and two are in Gangneung, the South Korean city where ice sports are taking place. Of the new cases reported Tuesday, two are in Pyeongchang and two are in Gangneung, the South Korean city where ice sports are taking place.
Additionally, researchers have warned that overuse may actually reduce the skin's own defenses, and possibly contribute to antibiotic resistance, leading some places to think about removing dispensers.
So what's the bottom line?
"We don't need to use sanitizer every time we go outside," Saggar said. "If you're just at a dinner party, you're probably better off just getting up and using soap and water. It's more effective, it's less toxic and it's less likely to promote resistance."
The American Cleaning Institute, which represents some manufacturers, has said not only are hand sanitizers a critical part of healthy hygiene, the Centers For Disease Control recommends using them when soap and water are not available.
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Sick of getting sunburned? This tiny device will help .
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. On average, half of the U.S. population experiences a sunburn once a year or more. Skin cancer is scary: According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by age 70. One person dies of melanoma (a less common skin cancer that is more likely to grow and spread) every hour.