Since the recent pandemic of swine flu, I’ve started to notice that hand sanitizer dispensers popping up everywhere: malls (like he one shown here recently installed at Queen K mall in Kahului), airports, train stations, restrooms, schools and even gas stations around the world.
Once found only in hospitals, hand sanitizer dispensed from plastic orbs of various colors now almost as common as the cold. The idea for people to clean their hands more often than washing alone in order to break the transmission of contagious diseases, such as cold and flu. The alcohol-based gel kills most bacteria and viruses on contact, thereby preventing the spread of illness.
But viruses and bacteria are smart and highly successful. In response to doctors giving out antiobiotics to treat viral infections, we created super drug-resistant bacteria that now plague hospitals and clinics.
Is it possible that we are making the same mistake again with hand sanitizer in our quest to live germ-free and helping to create super strains of these critters?