We are in the business of teaching people how to keep their hands hygienic, but recently we came across a couple of great articles from the CDC on why we should do what we do.
Show me the science
There are three articles in the series:
Despite the title of the series, the articles are written in clear, easy-to-understand language, suitable for school children.
There are lots of interesting statistics, medical facts and great advice.
All the facts are backed by by proper scientific references, making this a great place to start for a more comprehensive paper.
An excerpt from When and How To Use Sanitiser…
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of microbes on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Why? Many studies have found that sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers 1,2. Non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers may 1) not work equally well for all classes of germs (for example, Gram-positive vs. Gram-negative bacteria, Cryptosporidium, norovirus); 2) cause germs to develop resistance to the sanitizing; 3) merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright, or 4) be more likely to irritate skin than alcohol-based hand sanitizers 1,2.