Irish Examiner: Does Hand Sanitiser Work?

16 Mar 2020 | Category: Medical

Irish Examiner

The Irish Examiner investigated the effectiveness of hand sanitiser with expert advice from Dr Ross Perry.

This article was published 6th February and was primarily written with colds/flu in mind, although Coronavirus was already recognised as a threat.

With the rapid rise of Coronavirus, hand sanitiser has become an everyday item for many and a rare sight in supermarkets due to panic buying.

Dr Perry’s advice on hand sanitiser and hygiene is relevant and timely.

The Irish Examiner article was entitled:

“Does Hand Sanitiser Work?”

The feature opens:

“Maintaining good hygiene is key to keeping germs at bay. For many, this means regularly washing your hands, using hand sanitiser and even wearing face masks.”

While public health experts have said there is little evidence of the benefits of wearing a facemask outside a clinical setting, there is strong support and evidence for hand sanitiser.

Dr Ross Perry told the Irish Examiner:

“We think of colds as being an airborne virus, but one of the main ways of spreading it is via contact, as the germs from coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose can live on hands and surfaces for 24 hours.

“Using hand sanitiser is a great way of preventing catching a cold through the spread of those germs.”

The article continues:

“Perry recommends using alcohol-based sanitisers, which can kill “most bacteria and viruses in a few seconds.”

“Even if you’re used to squirting it onto your hands and moving on, for the best results he recommends you, “take a generous measure and rub in well for about 20 seconds, including between your fingers, under rings and up towards your wrist.”

However, as the Coronavirus is now pandemic, many people are finding that regular use of hand sanitiser can trigger irritations. Dr Perry suggests:

“Those with sensitive skin may find the alcohol rub irritates their hands. If this happens, stick to hand washing with warm water and a soap, or soap substitute, that agrees with your skin, and moisturise well afterwards.”

In terms of what hand sanitiser to purchase, they are not all the same and some are more effective than others.

Ross suggests a minimum alcohol content of 60% to kill the germs.

He also suggests that hand sanitiser is not a replacement for regular hand washing, but useful when you can’t get to wash your hands properly or as an extra precaution afterwards.

He reminds us that sanitisers are

“…are a disinfectant rather than a wash”

So for dirty hands, sanitiser will not be as effective as a good wash, which rinses dirt away.

Dr Ross Perry also reminded readers of other ways germs could spread:

“Avoid sharing things like towels, cutlery or crockery. Give door handles a good clean with antibacterial spray or wipe every day, and ensure the sufferer covers their mouth when coughing/sneezing, bins tissues and washes their hands regularly.”


The full article was published at

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Dr Ross Perry

doctor ross perry

Dr Ross Perry is Founder and Medical Director of Cosmedics Skin Clinics.

He qualified at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital Medical School in 1994. His career includes NHS skin cancer reconstruction, work as a GP, as well as private cosmetic skin treatments.

He established Cosmedics Skin Clinics in 2003 and remains in charge as Medical Director. He is best known for dealing with unwanted skin lesions and blemishes (e.g. moles, cysts, warts skin tags) and natural-looking use of non-surgical cosmetic injections (BOTOX® Anti-Wrinkle Injections and Facial Fillers).


skin treatments

Cosmedics Skin Clinics

Cosmedics Skin Clinics was established in 2003 and has built up an excellent reputation for cosmetic and medical skin treatments, carried out by GMC Registered Doctors.  The company offer a full range of cosmetic treatments, including popular lip enhancement and wrinkle relaxing injections, dermal fillers; plus medical treatments including mole removal, thread vein treatment and excessive sweating injections.

Cosmedics Skin Clinics has a team of skin treatment doctors and surgeons in their 5 skin clinics across London and Bristol led by Dr Ross Perry.

Call 020 7386 0464 or email to book an appointment.


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