Hand-sanitizing gels are a great option for killing germs when you're nowhere near a sink, but only if you follow these tips, doctors say:
Check the alcohol content. Buy a sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Otherwise, it won't be as good at killing viruses and bacteria.
Use a good amount. Aim for about 7 grams, or a squirt that's roughly the size of a silver dollar. That should be enough to wet your entire hand -- front and back -- thoroughly. Because sanitizers will only kill germs on direct contact, make sure not to miss any spots.
Rub it in well. About 30 seconds of brisk hand-rubbing will give the gel time to soak into your skin. Don't touch anything else until your hands are completely dry. Note: If your hands have dried in 10 or 15 seconds, you haven't used enough sanitizer.
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Use moisturizer. Too much sanitizer may dry out your skin and lead to rough patches or cracks. If you don't want to carry a separate tube of lotion, shop for sanitizers that include moisturizing ingredients such as aloe to keep skin healthier.
Build up a stash. Keep small bottles of sanitizer in your bag and car, as well as at home and work. Use it after touching especially germy surfaces such as doorknobs and other people's hands.
Know when you need soap. If your hands are visibly dirty or bleeding, washing with soap and water is a better option than sanitizers. If you're in contact with someone who has diarrhea, you also need soap to kill a common germ that causes the illness. In general, don't think of sanitizer as a replacement for soap.