I was thinking it might be useful for after getting off public transport. I wouldn't normally bother, just take the swine flu hit and be done, but being pg I thought I ought to at least make an effort not to catch it.
I'll hunt out the milton one listen, thanks. God knows where though, there's obviously been some panic buying of hand gels!
Influenza virus has an envelope that's made of lipid (basically fat) and so anything that disrupts this will significantly reduce infectivity. Hand rubs or tissues impregnanted with lipid solvents should be effective.
I would have thought baby wipes were pretty good myself. And yes: soap & water definitely the most cost-effective option.
musukebba, that's very interesting. Thanks for that. I'm going to keep washing my hands though... Boots has totally sold out of hand gels due to swine flu hysteria concerns.
My boss came in this morning and gave me some alcohol wipes to clean down my office (we all share offices) so I've just wiped down the phone, keyboards etc... I feel I've done enough now. I could just disappear for 6 months, that would be lovely, perhaps a desert island somewhere, but sadly the 8.30 from Clapham Junction is about as exotic as it gets for me at the moment!
Are people thinking that somehow you put it on and it stays on protecting your hands? It's not meant to work like that - it doesn't need to last more than eight seconds, only long enough for you to rub your hands together with it to clean them. If you then go and touch another door handle or lift button two minutes later you'd need to use it again. But it's certainly better than nothing if you aren't near soap and water or anything like that. You do need to do the rubbing together though, I think (could be wrong) that just coating your hands in it without rubbing won't do the same job.
I do use these quite regularly owing to the lack of handwashing I see round me. Proper cleaning of hands involves the palms, the back of the hands and the thumbs. All parts of the hands need cleaning - people tend to wash their palms and that's it.
I spoke to our paed yesterday, who treated the only case of swine flu in these parts. She said it is very contagious when you are near an infected person, but the one good news is that the virus doesn't stay alive outside the body long enough to infect anyone. Unlike the rotavirus that causes gastroenteritis, which can infect you days after an infected person has touched a railing or a toy.
I'm assuming she knows what she is talking about. If so, hand gels etc would be useless.
It doesn't die the second it hits a surface, so if the time between when you touch something and an infected person earlier coughed on it (or touched it with a hand they'd just coughed on) is short enough, it could still infect you. I think the time it survives on a surface is of the order of hours, not seconds, although I'm not sure how much of that time it would actually be working well enough to still infect someone.
From the CDC website (best source if you ask me)at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/qa.htm
Contamination & Cleaning
How long can influenza virus remain viable on objects (such as books and doorknobs)? Studies have shown that influenza virus can survive on environmental surfaces and can infect a person for up to 2-8 hours after being deposited on the surface.
What kills influenza virus? Influenza virus is destroyed by heat (167-212°F [75-100°C]). In addition, several chemical germicides, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics), and alcohols are effective against human influenza viruses if used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time. For example, wipes or gels with alcohol in them can be used to clean hands. The gels should be rubbed into hands until they are dry.