H1N1 drives demand for sanitizer

Junior Derick Moul came into portable B3 class very jittery.

“Where’s your hand sanitizer?” he asked the teacher.

“Are you addicted to hand sanitizer?” asked the teacher.

“I am germaphobic,” Moul answered. “It started with the hype of the swine flu going around.”

Moul, a Media Academy student, said he tries to use hand sanitizer every time he gets the chance – “after I eat, before I eat, [even] after I shake people’s hands.”

Moul is like many people at Fremont who think that hand sanitizer cleanses your hands and protects you from getting the swine flu.

Is hand sanitizer good or bad for you? It’s supposed to kill 99.99 percent of germs, but is that too much?

There are positives and negatives to hand sanitizer. It can be allergenic to young children because of the highly strong fumes and the bacteria used to kill germs, according to CNN.  A positive effect is that it canclean your hands and prevent cold and flu germs from passing on to others.

Still, Monica Gonzalez, human service specialist at the Tiger Clinic, doesn’t recall ever using hand sanitizer herself. “I just wash my hands all the time,” she said.

Gonzalez thinks that washing your hands with soap and water actually gets rid of germs. Hand sanitizer uses germs to get rid of germs, she said. That’s not good.

Nevertheless, the Tiger Clinic bought a 60 fluid ounce bottle of foam hand sanitizer that people such as Temalisi Nepote go into the clinic just to use.

Diana Rosales, medical assistant at the Tiger Clinic, said hand sanitizer can help get rid of you germs.

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta stated that if you use hand sanitizer, you should rinse your hands with with cold or warm water.

The CDC Web site warns that it doesn’t matter what you do, you should remember to rinse or you will still have some type of germs on your hands. The CDC recommends that you wash your hands frequently, including:

before and after handling food,

after using the bathroom,

after touching animals,

when your hands are dirty, and

more frequently when someone in your home is sick.

There are a few risks with hand sanitizer. About 12,000 children every year are poisoned by hand sanitizer, according to CNN. Also, hand sanitizer is flammable because one of its main ingredients is alcohol.

Then there is the cost. Hand sanitizer costs $1 to $7, depending on the size. Soap and water is much cheaper.

Media Academy secretary Irene Sheppard said she doesn’t order hand sanitizer for teachers; they buy it themselves if they want it.

Secretaries and principals at Mandela, Architecture and Paul Robeson also said they don’t keep track of hand  sanitizer use at their schools.

Junior Jennifer Truong did not worry about sanitizing her hands before the H1N1 scare. Now, however, she looks for hand sanitizer anywhere she can find it on the Fremont campus.

“I am really worried about health issues,” she said. “I know hand sanitizer doesn’t do too much, but it helps.”