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Thursday, April 21, 2011

FDA: Hand sanitizers do not kill superbugs

Some hand sanitizer producers are making fraudulent claims and the U.S. Food and Drug Aministration has warned them to stop. The claims violate federal law, the FDA says.

The claims in question say that hand sanitizers prevent MRSA infections, or resistant staph infections. The bacteria from MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) are resistant to antibiotics and more difficult to cure. They tend to be more common at health care facilities.

MRSA can cause cause severe and even life-threatening infections that don't respond to the antibiotic methicillin.

The FDA advises consumers:

Don’t buy over-the-counter hand sanitizers or other products that claim to prevent infection from MRSA, E. coli, salmonella, flu, or other bacteria or viruses.

Ask your pharmacist for help distinguishing between reliable and questionable information on product labels and company websites.

The best defense against germs and other microbes is to wash hands often, especially before hanlling food. Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. For children, this means the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. (read more)