Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Slate Takes Contrarian Stand On Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers don't do jack to protect you from the flu, says Slate. Bonus fun fact: "In 1847, Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that washing one's hands with chlorine between deliveries practically eliminated fatal infections among laboring women. (His colleagues ignored him and later committed him to a mental hospital, where he was beaten to death by guards.)"

21 Comments / Post A Comment

Germs don't kill people, disease kills people.

phlox (#204)

Also: Liquid hand sanitizers are an awful substitute for water-based personal lubricants.

TroutSavant (#1,990)

::involuntary butt clench::

I carry hand sanitizer with me pretty much all the time. But not for health reasons. Just to get dirt/grease off my hands when water is not nearby.

Most frequent uses for me: Post-taco truck meals and digging in the crates.

Money might be filthy, but used record stores are a close second.

katiebakes (#32)

AS USUAL I AGREE WITH SLATE. I have been on an anti-hand sanitizer crusade for years. Fine if you're a germophobe and it makes you feel better about touching the subway pole, I guess, but people who lube up their lil children with the stuff as if it were sunscreen should have their kids taken away and given to me so I can force feed them some dirt.

Worse: the stuff is in rest rooms now, and people use it instead of soap and water. IT IS A BETTER-THAN-NOTHING THING not a thing-in-itself.

brad (#1,678)

i spray my kids down with a sanitizing gel every morning and then mummify them in saranwrap. you could try to feed them dirt, but they'd just squirt out of your grip like a vaselined hot dog. so, good luck with that.

Sutton (#1,490)

A poorly written article that seems more interested in presenting a contrarian viewpoint (AKA, a Slate article) than in teasing out the differences between hand sanitizer and washing your hands. Also, how do you know if hospital staff wash their hands? By asking. Big surprise that you'd see an increase in the people who SAY they sanitize more often after there's been an intensive education effort. Try again, Slate!

kneetoe (#1,881)

Studies show that people who get their public health advice from Slate live 10% shorter lives.

OskarS (#3,652)

Slate was pushing insanely for people to get the H1N1 vaccine, much more than other publications which continually ran articles reporting on the controversy, thus making people believe there actually was one in the medical community.

By contrast, Slate was nonstop in calling the vaccine-critics nutcases and urging people to vaccinate themselves.

I'd go with Slate on public health advice over almost any other education. At least they, you know, use SCIENCE!

OskarS (#3,652)

Sorry, meant "publication" not "education" obviously. That was an embarrassing mistake…

kneetoe (#1,881)

Ok ok, thanks for publicating me :) (cheap shot, I know–for revenge check out my comment about tags on the giant hotdog post from earlier today, where, due to my tags ignorance, I got two things wrong in one sentence).

Screen Name (#2,416)

1880s Hungarian Medicine:

Nurse Polgári, quick! This baby is breech! Bring me some chlorine, a rusty scalpel, my urine solution and a bag of human feces while I spit into the birth canal. But first, I wash my hands in chlorine!

HiredGoons (#603)

I hope the guards washed their hands after they beat him to death.

kneetoe (#1,881)

They did, but it was too late to do him any good.

HiredGoons (#603)

But at least they were all right.

cherrispryte (#444)

Kurt Vonnegut's hero! He killed himself by stabbing himself in the thigh with an unclean scalpel. (Semmelweiz, not Vonnegut. Vonnegut died of a fall, which I think is how he'd've liked to go.)

spikenard (#3,522)

Aw shit. The best thing about this swine flu scare was the sudden appearance of hand sanitizer everywhere. As a person who is germphobic to the point where I wipe down my iPhone every night with antibacterial bathroom cleaning solution (don't laugh at my mental illness) it reassured me to think that people were covered in Purell. Now I have to go back to not shaking the hands of strangers. Damnation :(

Scum (#1,847)

LMAO@your mental illness

Ribs (#2,690)

FUCK hand sanitizer

Apostic Goat (#241,270)

The worst thing about Slate is anyone can remove any comment they want. Slate has a 3 flag auto-delete system that is constantly abused on their commenting boards. You don't even need to enter a real email to make an account. Make 3 accounts and open 3 browsers (Firefox, Google Chrome and another) and you can flag away.

This vulnerable auto-flag system has ruined the boards. Some of you might recognize this system from Fox Nation. If you have contrarian opinion you are not welcomed there, although they are a contrarian based site. Conservatives, Atheists and Islamic opinion are deleted regularly. Whats the point of having a commenting board if only the liberal christian viewpoints are allowed to remain? The flag wars have ruined the site and it's total anarchy.

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