Germs are everywhere! They can get onto hands and items we touch during
daily activities and make you sick. Cleaning hands at key times with soap and
water or hand sanitizer is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid
getting sick and spreading germs to those around you.
There are important differences between washing hands with soap and water
and cleaning them with hand sanitizer. For example, alcohol-based hand
sanitizers don’t kill ALL types of germs, such as a stomach bug called norovirus,
some parasites, and Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhea. Hand
sanitizers also may not remove harmful chemicals, such as pesticides and
heavy metals like lead. Handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs,
pesticides, and metals on hands. Knowing when to clean your hands and which
method to use will give you the best chance of preventing sickness.
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