Hello, goodbye.


They don’t call the 10:20 PM flight from the west coast to the east coast the red eye for nothing!  But honestly – it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.  Normally, I struggle to sleep on planes (again – that fear of publically sleeping with my mouth open) but I tossed a blanket over my head, popped in my earbuds, and listened to the soothing sounds of the iPhone Ambiance app (my favorite is the indoor rain noise).  And I was out.  Thank goodness!


Yes, I wear glasses!  Well, normally contacts.  My glasses are from 2000.  I tried to upgrade them last year but I’m so attached to these frames – and they’re practically indestructible.


I woke up from my deep, peaceful airplane slumber with one thought in my head – hand sanitizer – and thought this would be a fun little debate. Do you use hand sanitizer? Or do you think we’re slowly creating super germs?



I am a HUGE FAN of hand sanitizer, especially when I travel.  I credit the alcoholic stuff with saving my health, despite so many trips through airports and on planes.  In case you’re also the type of person who LOVES ‘germiest places’ factoids (wait – is that only me?!), here are the most bacteria- and virus-laden spots in an airport, according to this article:


Airplane bathrooms  (side note: do you know how many people I see walk into airplane bathrooms WITHOUT shoes or socks on?!)

Floor at security

The magazines and catalogues in the seat pocket in front of you

Public water fountains

Previously used airline pillows and blankets


So, obviously, using hand sanitizer often and generously when I travel gives me the piece of mind that I’m not picking up E. Coli every time I use the plane bathroom.  But, of course, there are drawbacks to hand sanitizer, and sometimes, I can tell my seatmates that I’m a little insane when I start sanitizing the tray table (in my defense, I haven’t gotten sick once this travel season – knock on wood). 


Critics of hand sanitizers say that the gels or foams cannot really cut through dirt (or grease or blood) and hand-washing is still necessary.  But if you’re stuck in a situation in which you REALLY cannot wash your hands – it’s better than nothing.  Another compliant?  It kills ‘good’ bacteria and dries out our skin.  Some studies, however, say that our bodies naturally replace the bacteria quickly; I do find the drying factor to be annoying.   And last, but not least, (and I was very surprised to learn this) many experts believe hand sanitizer is not very effective against influenza (the flu) because the disease is primarily spread by being breathed directly into the lungs; however, other experts argue that touching the virus and then touching your nose or mouth can spread it, too. 


If you’re going to use hand sanitizer, be sure to read the label: Studies suggest that anything below 60% alcohol is ineffective at killing germs.   Also, don’t skimp – I use a quarter-size amount and rub my hands until dry (while singing two rounds of ‘Happy Birthday’ in my head – just like for hand washing) .  The CDC says if your hands dry within 10 – 15 seconds, you haven’t used enough sanitizer to be effective.


So – what’s your vote?  Are you a hand sanitizer fan or think it’s all a bunch of hooey?  Any funny hand sanitizing stories?  Are you an airport neat freak?  Let’s debate!


Other little debates (some serious, some not so serious):



  • Natalcho @ Tomatoes Rock October 25, 2011, 7:19 am

    I started using hand sanitizer around the whole avian flu panick but I found it very addictive. Before I knew it I was scared of touching my computer keyboard (that thing is dirty despite the fact I wipe it clean a few times per week!) So I finally decided that my sanity was more important and stopped using a sanitizer. Thankfully I do not seem to get sick more often than before.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 25, 2011, 7:20 am

    I definitely only use hand sanitizer in reeallly germy situations – like airplanes or if I’m feeling a cold coming on at school (i’m a teacher – those kids have crazy germs!!). Otherwise, I say we should keep it to a bare minimum!

  • Kayla @ Sprouty Buns October 25, 2011, 7:26 am

    hand sanitizer is definitely a last resort for me, in the most nasty of places. I’m all for killing off those bad germs, but I hate the drying affects and have it stuck in my head that it will weaken my immune system – yeah, I’m no doctor but somehow that stuck with me 😉

  • Ashley October 25, 2011, 7:29 am

    Hand sanitizer is a funny debate. I always carry it with me and use it as much as possible. I currently live in London (but I’m American) and whenever I take it out someone will say “you’re such an American with that stuff”. It’s actually funny.

    I always have an extra pair of socks in my bag incase I’m not wearing any and I have to go through airport security. That floor is SO GROSS and that just grosses me out if I had to walk there barefoot. Uck.

    • Vanessa October 25, 2011, 2:30 pm

      That’s so funny! I’m an American living in Germany and my friend from Kenya told me the same thing (you’re such an American with that stuff)!

  • Michelle October 25, 2011, 7:36 am

    I carry sanitizer with me in my purse and use it frequently. I wasn’t aware of the whole not being effective if your hands dry fast. Makes sense tho

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 25, 2011, 7:46 am

    I am more of a soap fan, but in situations like when you’re traveling and soap isn’t always an option, I think hand sanitizer is the way to go (and Bath and Body Works makes some amazing-smelling ones, so why not!?!?) On another note, I hadn’t heard of the Ambiance app – going to get it now!

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:01 am


  • Shari October 25, 2011, 7:51 am

    I am a huge fan of hand sanitizer when antibacterial soap isn’t a possibility. My biggest thing is using it after handling any kind of money – just thinking of how many germs are on something as small as a nickel makes me queasy!

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:02 am

      I used to work at a grocery store and how dirty my hands got as a cashier was DISGUSTING.

    • Emily G. October 25, 2011, 11:24 am

      Blehhh! I HATTTE dollar bills. All I can think about when handling them is how many times they have crossed a strippers body.

    • Errign October 25, 2011, 12:00 pm

      Cash registers drawers make me want to puke. The change spots are always so dirty – I wipe mine out all the time.

  • Melissa October 25, 2011, 7:53 am

    I only use it occasionally. I work with small children, so when my hands get directly drooled on, then yes, I use hand sanitizer. That’s pretty much the only time though. I’m a good hand-washer, though. I always use soap (actually, I’m kinda grossed out that some people don’t), and I spend a decently long time making sure I get every part of my hands.

  • Rachel @ Mommygetsmoving October 25, 2011, 7:56 am

    I started using it once I had a baby. Now its a habit. It does come in useful with kids who have to touch everything when you’re out in public spaces.

  • Amanda October 25, 2011, 8:02 am

    I’m not a huge fan of hand sanitizer (it’s quite useful though). I avoid using things that dry out my skin unnecessarily because I work in a hospital… I wear gloves ALL day and wash my hands frequently (I do not have contact with patients). My school of thought is if you dry your skin out it begins to crack and bleed and intact skin is your first barrier of protection. In the winter the cold and my workplace dry my hands out so bad my skin hurts : /

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:03 am

      Ugh I hate that. My hands crack and bleed too during the winter. SO painful. I’ve never found a lotion that really worked.

      • Clare October 25, 2011, 10:45 am

        Eucerin! The giant tub. You can only really use the stuff from the tub at night because it’s thick and greasy but it works. And it will last for a bajillion years.

        • Stephanie C October 25, 2011, 3:16 pm

          I use that during the winter and L’occitane if i can afford it 😉

        • Courtney October 25, 2011, 5:07 pm

          I think the stuff in a giant tub by Eucerin is called Aquaphor? It’s amazing. I also use a slightly less greasy one I got from GNC for $2 that is Vitamin E ointment–sadly, it seems the more greasy something is, the better it works.

          I do not use hand sanitizer, because I have hand eczema and anything that dries out my hands is a no-go.

      • Leslie October 25, 2011, 6:24 pm

        Its expensive, but Crabtree and Evelyn’s Hand Therapy is amazing stuff. It works wonders on my dry hands and doesn’t leave them feeling oily that long. I swear by it all winter to avoid chapped bleeding knuckles.

  • Amy October 25, 2011, 8:03 am

    I don’t often use hand sanitizer – I personally think I have an immune system of steel. But now that I’m pregnant I may have to rethink that! I’m a social worker, and I do use it sometimes if I have a particularly … germy client in my office. 🙂 But for the most part, I don’t bother.

    HOWEVER. I would definitely use it if I were on airplanes as much as you are. Yes, yes and yes.

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:04 am

      Congrats on your pregnancy 🙂

  • Julia October 25, 2011, 8:05 am

    I also use hand sanitizer occasionally when traveling or at public places.
    Often, in public bathrooms there is no soap available and washing your hands only with water isn’t the most effective way to clean your hands either.
    In those cases I think using a hand sanitzer is ok.

    But, I don’t think that you should go crazy with it – as well as not using antibeacterial cleaning agents at your home like crazy!
    We can all handle a little bit of dirt 😉

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) October 25, 2011, 8:07 am

    I am a fan of sanitizer as I think it serves a good purpose. I do think it is quite ridiculous when people overly use it… think after they touch anything out in public, each time they get in their car, etc. It is my opinion that when it is used to this extreme, then it could possibly start to defeat the purpose of using it to being with? Haven’t done much research on this though, just my gut feelings!

  • Hillary October 25, 2011, 8:11 am

    I never use it, but I am an avid hand-washer. As a middle school teacher, I need all the boosts my immune system can get!

  • Lori Lynn October 25, 2011, 8:13 am

    I teach in an elementary school, so I tend to use a lot of the stuff. But I also wash my hands a lot too. My hands do get really dried out, especially in the winter, so I’m constantly using lotion as well!

  • Marla October 25, 2011, 8:18 am

    Not a fan of it.
    Don’t like artifical scents and ingredients,
    I stick with the tried and true-
    I handwash when I can,but mostly I try
    super hard not to touch my face ,nose,eyes
    when in public if I can help it.

    I am a big fan of washing my hands as soon
    as I get home ,even just from an arrand etc.
    I feel this is my best bet re germs.

    I do use it when visiting folks in hospital rooms
    as the hospitals provide it and ask us to and I know that c.difficile is so easy to spread and want to help patients avoid getting any type of bug I may be carrying, if I can.

    • Susan - Nurse on the Run October 25, 2011, 8:49 am

      Just as an FYI, hand sanitizers don’t kill the endospores that make up C. diff, so you shouldn’t be using things like Purell after visiting someone who is known to have it. Washing your hands with soap and water is the effective way to make sure you’re clean!

      Also, always remember to follow infection control rules in the hospital…those gowns and gloves are there for a reason. 🙂

      • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:04 am

        Susan is so smart 🙂

      • Marla October 25, 2011, 10:36 am

        Thanks for reply!
        I was actually referring to the sanitizer
        stuff they put outside of hospital rooms
        BEFORE you enter-I do follow those directions
        that are outside each patient’s room 🙂

        (of course leaving a hospital I would always wash my hands thoroughly of course)

        Great to hear a reply from a real,live nurse!!

  • Amanda October 25, 2011, 8:21 am

    I’m a big fan of hand sanitizer in situations where I can’t wash my hands. For example: on the train (which is basically a giant petri dish). I try to avoid touching anything on public transit, but it’s just inevitable. Hand sanitizer, if nothing else, make me feel like I’m actively doing something to prevent getting sick. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything to combat the person who coughs on you because you’re packed in like sardines. Ick!

  • Carolina John October 25, 2011, 8:22 am

    I love the hand sanitizer. swear by the stuff. and it’s easier to get the kids to use than getting them to not touch stuff or actually wash their hands.

  • Jessica October 25, 2011, 8:24 am

    I don’t use hand sanitizer. My mom was also never a big germ freak and I credit my hearty immune system to being exposed to germs all the time.

    I’m currently having an internal debate about getting the flu shot because I never have before, but now I have a 4 month old and I would hate myself if not getting it made her catch the flu and become sick.

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) October 25, 2011, 8:24 am

    I love international flights that give you a pair of socks when you get on the plane. You can walk around the plane — I’m talking about 18-hour flights when you don’t want to wear shoes the whole time! — and then get rid of the dirty socks when the flight is over. Total win.

    • Errign October 25, 2011, 12:01 pm

      This. I kick off my shoes before takeoff and they don’t go back on until landing.

  • sarah October 25, 2011, 8:25 am

    You SHOULD wipe down the tray and anything else that’s wipeable on a plane. You know they never clean those. Gross.

    And FYI, sanitizing gels/foams do NOT kill MRSA….they actually help propagate it. You need good old soap and water to get MRSA off your hands. Wash for at least 15-30 seconds (sing happy birthday to yourself) and don’t forget your nails and between your fingers!

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:05 am

      Good to know!!!

    • Stephanie C October 25, 2011, 3:19 pm

      Knowing this, I feel like I need to carry those antibacterial wipes in my purse now..

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed October 25, 2011, 8:32 am

    I don’t really think much about germs. I rarely use hand sanitizer, mostly only when I’m cooking while camping or something like that. I rarely get sick so I’m not too worried about it.

  • Errign October 25, 2011, 8:40 am

    I never use hand sanitizer. I’m probably pretty gross, but I’m rarely skeeved out by airports. Public bathrooms in general can be kind of disgusting, but once you spend a week in Southern Taiwan where they don’t have toilets, just holes you squat over, I can pretty much deal with anything.

  • Brittney October 25, 2011, 8:54 am

    I wash my hands A LOT and hardly ever get sick (just knocked on wood). I use hand sanitizer sometimes if there’s not a way to wash my hands and I feel really icky, but don’t carry it with me, and I’m not obsessive with it. I do think that part of the reason I don’t get sick often is that my body is good at fighting stuff off from letting myself be a little bit exposed to germs too. I think you have to kind of take a middle road approach and wash/sanitize when you feel dirty, just used a bathroom, or know you are going to be exposed to ultra bacteria laden things, but also not go overboard sanitizing all the time.

  • Gracie (complicated day) October 25, 2011, 8:55 am

    I know this is strange coming from a pharmacist, but I’m anti-sanitizer. In fact, I’m anti-antibacterial soap, and I’m anti-antibiotics in most cases. We are weakening our own immune systems and creating fantastically resistant bacteria.

    • TheHungeredOne@MovingandMunching October 25, 2011, 9:17 am

      yep yep… hard to find soaps that aren’t anti-bacterial some times 😐

      • kated October 25, 2011, 1:04 pm

        Ditto! I don’t see a point to one’s debate on hand-sanitizers if they are using antibacterial soap anyway. Same thing!

    • Leslie October 25, 2011, 6:29 pm

      This is basically how I feel, except for in extreme conditions of contamination.

      I’ve heard that the anti-bacterial chemical in soap is very bad for newborns and maybe even pregnant mothers. I just use good old fashioned soap and water. I do wash my hands before eating anything and as soon as I get home.

    • Emmalinda October 26, 2011, 9:21 pm

      I feel the same. I’m a school librarian (both elementary school kids & books are grimy) and I hate using the antibacterial soap at school. At home, there are no antibacterial products in my house b/c they just create super-bacteria. Also, I never use hand sanitizer, unless there is absolutely no way for me to wash my hands and I need to eat/touch my face. Otherwise, I stick to plain ol’ soap & water and don’t touch my face unless my hands have just been washed. I think my immune system does a pretty great job b/c I avoid antibacterial products!

  • Jen October 25, 2011, 8:56 am

    I hate sleeping in public too! Funny story; when I went to Germany with my parents a few years ago, I was so nervous that I didn’t sleep on the overnight plane ride at all (I did get to see the sun rise over the middle of the Atlantic though so I think that was worth it! Anyway…); of course I was exhausted when we landed, but we had an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam, so I thought, great, I can sleep there. But my parents fell asleep first, and I was like, “I CAN’T sleep now, or else someone will steal our luggage!!” I ended up staying awake for about 20 hours straight. Good times, good times. I crashed on my sister’s couch as soon as we arrived haha.

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:05 am

      Ughhhh sounds like such a miserable trip! so exhausting.

      • Jen October 25, 2011, 12:09 pm

        The good thing was that I had absolutely no problem adjusting to the time difference. I was so exhausted, I was like, “Oh it’s 11 AM now? Okay!” Haha the rest of the trip was amazing though!

  • Jen October 25, 2011, 8:58 am

    Oh and to stay on-topic here, I’ll use hand sanitizer if there’s no other option. I will not, however, use the automatic hand driers, since those are not cleaned very frequently.

  • Susan - Nurse on the Run October 25, 2011, 9:00 am

    I’m a nurse in a hospital and I worked directly with patients every single day, so hand sanitizer is pretty much a staple in my daily life. We use it before and after entering every single room! Studies have shown that it is very effective in decreasing transmission of bacteria between patients (and the staff!) and is actually more effective than washing your hands. (Except in cases such as C. diff, during which hand sanitizer is not effective and you must wash your hands.)

    As for the drying effect, studies have shown that nurses who use alcohol based sanitizer have less dryness and irritation than those who solely used soap and water. Some products include moisturizer in them! I’m pretty sure nurses are a good sample group since I don’t know many other professions who use it quite as much as we do!

    It’s also important to remember that it’s best to wash your hands when visibly soiled. (Or after sneezing, bathroom, etc.) The hand sanitizer can’t cut through dirt and such, so you have to wash it off.

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:06 am

      Thanks for this comment, Susan 🙂 Very interesting + helpful.

  • TheHungeredOne@MovingandMunching October 25, 2011, 9:17 am

    Hand sanitizer is a last resort for me (i.e. I just went in a porta potty). I don’t like how it dries out my hands and, yes, I do believe we’re creating superbugs. Plus, they don’t necessarily kill those superbugs we’re helping to flourish. And, a lot of people think hand sanitizer replaces hand washing… ughhh grosss.

  • Jennifer October 25, 2011, 9:23 am

    I think I’ve maybe used hand sanitizer once, and that was only to see what it what like. I’m like the oppposite of a germ-a-phobe, nothing phases me LOL. And I rarely get sick, so something must be ok. I do wash my hands fairly regularly though.

  • Erica October 25, 2011, 9:24 am

    I use hand sanitizer on occasion, since alcohol is an effective way to kill bacteria) but it’s obviously always best to just wash your hands. As a PhD scientist, we use ethanol spray in our biology labs to prevent contamination.

    The thing that I don’t like to use is ‘antibacterial soap’ with triclosan. So as much as I love scented soaps from places like bath and body works, I won’t use them because triclosan is DEFINITELY contributing to antibiotic resistance.

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:06 am

      I’ve heard that too about triclosan.

  • Chelsea October 25, 2011, 9:30 am

    I’m all for using hand sanitizer :)!

  • Nena October 25, 2011, 9:33 am

    oooohhh myyyyy goooosh! My sisters and I got into this debate about two weeks ago. I think hand sanitzier doesn’t even work. I think you still have to wash your hands and than use it if you feel the need. My youngest sister is in the middle and the middle sister is like all for it! lol…I don’t think we ever really agreed on it. LOL. It was pretty hilarious hearing us argue about this.

  • Lacey October 25, 2011, 9:34 am

    Most store bought hand sanitizers actually only sanitize for 2 seconds once its on a surface. Soap will always be your most effective sanitizer. Plus, have you ever thought how “germy” your sanitizer bottle is? You touch it with dirty hands and and then put it back in your bag where it can transfer to the other things in your bag! I work in food safety and have a hard time not noticing all the “dirty” things around.

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:07 am

      AHHH LACEY! You just did my head in. 🙂 Now I must sanitize my sanitizer.

  • Brandi @ The Vitamin Bee October 25, 2011, 9:37 am

    I have three bottles of hand sanitzer in my purse, along with a pocket sized lysol, and travel clorox wipes. Probably overkill but I’d rather know that I cleaned something (like the plane tray table) myself.

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 25, 2011, 9:39 am

    I travel a lot for work. I actually just randomly counted my flights so far this year and it was 58. This past weekend was the first time I’ve been sick all year (after a 6 day work trip and 2 6 hr. flights) and I never use hand sanitizer. I was my hands a million times a day and will make trips to the bathroom just to do that but I HATE hand sanitizer. Honestly, it makes my hands feel dirtier like they’re covered in some grimy film or something! Another thing I hate touching on planes…the overhead air thingy. Yuck!

    • Carolyn @ Eat.Live.Be Well October 25, 2011, 9:58 am

      This EXACTLY. I travel for work too and I haven’t been sick once this year either.

      That gel just feels SO incredibly gross and you got it. I feel dirtier using the stuff than not using it.

      • jenn October 25, 2011, 10:40 am

        Exactly! I also travel weekly for work & I rarely get sick either. I think the people who are slathering themselves in hand sanitizer are more likely to get sick. Let yourself build up immunity to germs & you’ll be fine.

  • kelly October 25, 2011, 9:42 am

    haha, I am generally a non-hand sanitizer. I feel like if you use it too much, you won’t be able to fight off germs when they do come in contact w/you. My mother-in-law is obsessed w/the stuff and actually pulls it out of her purse and puts it in the middle of the table for everyone to use when we go out to eat anywhere! I just ignore it 😉 The only times I do make a conscience effort to use it is when I am on airplanes/subways or other super gross germy places.

  • Liz October 25, 2011, 9:45 am

    I do keep hand sanitizer with me & use it when I have to, but NOTHING is a substitute for washing your hands! Those gels don’t kill some bacteria & some people don’t use enough/rub it in well enough to do anything. Plus, the bottle itself is pretty germy…

  • Khushboo October 25, 2011, 9:49 am

    I always carry hand sanitiser in my bag! The worst is going to a public bathroom and it is out of either soap or a napkin to wipe your hands! Can always count on the sanitiser!

  • Ella October 25, 2011, 9:56 am

    I keep hearing that because we’re keeping so clean a lot of young kids are more prone to allergies and getting sick more frequently. I ate sand as a kid. No joke, my mom used to catch me eating fistfuls of it. I wash my hands after I use the bathroom or if I was washing the dishes or something where my hands get messy, but thats it..I get the occasional cold but thats it.

    I’m a premed major and I just use hand sanitizer to protect the people who are already sick, i.e purell before I go into a patients room. I’m a firm believer that we’re creating super bugs, in a pinch its great but regular old soap and water does the trick if your’e not coming in contact with extremely sick people all the time in my opinion.

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:07 am

      Yummy sand 🙂

  • Carolyn @ Eat.Live.Be Well October 25, 2011, 9:57 am

    Nope. Never. I’m not afraid of germs. And I can wash my hands when I get to a sink. I use the airplane bathrooms, pillows AND blankets…. and I even traveled to New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, LA, and Maine ALL in September and didn’t get sick. 😉

  • Cait October 25, 2011, 10:04 am

    Have you tried the “Clean Well” brand? It is more natural and it doesn’t include triclosan which is a terrible pollutant for water. I still use the alcohol based stuff in really germy situations, but the Clean Well seems to work well for my general germaphobic needs. It smells nice too.

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 10:08 am

      I will look into this! Sounds like something I would love to try.

  • Sophie @ threetimesf October 25, 2011, 10:08 am

    I started using hand gel when I was travelling Europe a few summers ago, and was literally disgusted by some of the public bathrooms I came across, and have been a die-hard user ever since!
    Obviously I still wash my hands too, but something is better than nothing right?!

  • HTPDad October 25, 2011, 10:09 am

    Hooey. For a society that struggles with vaccinating children against fatal diseases to obsess about ‘germs’ is like being a climate change denier – science is science – not hand purifier marketing! “I don’t care, I Know what I Know”! E.coli is everywhere because people (and dogs and cats are everywhere.

    I’ll be quiet now.

    • Rachel October 25, 2011, 1:56 pm

      I agree. I don’t work in a school or a hospital, so I can’t speak to those situations. I do fly fairly regularly though, without hand sanitizer, and this article did more to convince me I’m right than it did to change my mind.

      The guy listing the most germ-laden aspects of air travel is “Peter Sheldon, vice president of operations and development for Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System (which franchises commercial cleaning businesses).” I’m sure he knows a lot about dirt and grime, but does he know anything about how dirt and grime interact with the immune system?

      Given that “health-based” is right there in his title, he very well may, but he probably doesn’t know as much about the immune system as “Aaron E. Glatt, a physician who is president and CEO of St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y., and spokesman for the Infectious Disease Society of America,” who says yeah, the airplane bathroom is gross, but the rest of those things are nothing to worry about.

      That said, I do knock on wood occasionally, so I can’t judge the hand sanitizer enthusiasts.

  • Kristen @ The Concrete Runner October 25, 2011, 10:10 am

    First of all, you have gorgeous eyes! I love that picture of you will your glasses – you look beautiful! Second, as a brand new parent, hand sanitizer is my best friend. I’m really not a crazy, must-wash-hands-before-touching-my-baby person, but really, if it’s going to prevent my child from getting sick, PLEASE wash + use hand sanitizer! My BFF is a nurse and she said the most effective way of killing germs is by thoroughly washing your hands and then following up with hand sanitizer. And every doctor + nurse I’ve seen recently (which has been A LOT since I was in the hospital with a newborn for a week) has washed + used sanitizer. I think you’re SMART for using it as much as you do, especially with how much you travel!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2011, 2:23 pm

      Thanks 🙂 And congrats again on your new baby! I love reading your posts.

  • Jamie @ FoodinRealLife October 25, 2011, 10:13 am

    I love hand sanitizer. A bonus too is that it makes my wedding rings shiny 🙂

  • CJ @ http://healthy-happy-whole.com October 25, 2011, 10:23 am

    totally on board with hand sanitizer!! since my classroom is a trailer, and the kids are technically being “punished” they have porta-potties outside they are required to use when they need a bathroom. I definitely have back up stash of hand sanitizer for when they come back from their breaks! and for me I keep my delicious smelling bath and body antibacterial gel that i absolutely love!
    im glad your trip wasnt so bad! sleep is key!

  • Heather @ Better With Veggies October 25, 2011, 10:26 am

    I agree with you – sometimes you just can’t wash your hands and isn’t something (hand sanitizer) better than nothing?Although they aren’t as common, there are moisturizing hand sanitizers that are much better for my hands during the winter. 🙂

  • Emily G. October 25, 2011, 10:29 am

    I only keep it at my desk and use it after customers. Not because I think they are nasty, but because I don’t want their germs!

    The morning show I listen to just did a bit today about the germiest places and they said gas pumps have MASSIVE levels of nastiness (not sure the percentage or types of germs – I was driving and couldn’t write down or remember the names). I will now be bringing a can of Lysol when I have to get gas! How dorky will I look spraying the pump? lol

  • Zo October 25, 2011, 10:29 am

    I do use hand sanitizer, but don’t like how dry my hands get.
    I volunteer at an animal shelter where I handle/play with the cats. One of the rules is to use sanitizer after handling a cat/before touching another cat. That does a number on on my hands. I’ve also found that some cats are begging for attention, but they take one whiff of my sanitizer-smelling hands and retreat to the back of the cage!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2011, 2:25 pm

      Thanks for volunteering with an animal shelter 🙂

  • Christine @ BookishlyB October 25, 2011, 10:34 am

    I think hand sanitizer when traveling is okay, but not on a regular basis. We NEED germs and bacteria- it’s how we create immunities. I am definitely concerned about how reliant our society is on antibiotic hand soaps and medicine- ummm, hello, MRSA!

  • jenn October 25, 2011, 10:35 am

    I am in airports every week for work travel and I never use hand sanitizer, but do wash my hands pretty regularly. Actually, since I started traveling weekly 3 years ago, I almost never get sick anymore (I used to get sick 3-4 times per year)! I think it’s the same concept as letting kids eat dirt. If you try to protect yourself from every germ – eventually it will catch up to you. I figure I just have immunity to almost everything since there probably isn’t a germ I haven’t been exposed to at this point!

  • Ashley O. @ The Vegetable Life October 25, 2011, 10:39 am

    I feel like it can’t be that good being alcohol and chemicals and all, but I use hand sanitizer all the time. Especially at work after touching the elevator buttons, etc.!

  • Jen October 25, 2011, 10:40 am

    I keep a bottle of and sanitizer by my desk at work and use it whenever I return to it. At home I’m all soap and water. I never get sick so something must be working!

  • lauren October 25, 2011, 10:42 am

    I think sanitizer has its place…When I worked around food we always washed & sanitized our hands before putting clean gloves on this made my hands super dry all the time. I’m food safety certified, so I understand that this is the best way to prevent contamination.
    It’s also important to use it around people with compromised immune systems. My brother-in-law had a bone marrow transplant a couple years ago and we were always washing our hands and using sanitizer around him.
    In our “regular” lives, I think sanitizer use should be restricted to traveling and other times when you just can’t wash your hands right away.

  • Crystal October 25, 2011, 10:42 am

    I am a hand-washing fanatic, and I use just regular soap and water, not the anti-bacterial stuff. When I don’t have access to a sink, I use alcohol-based sanitizers. I keep some in my purse, backpack and in the car. I rarely get sick – I haven’t taken a sick day from work in at least 5-6 years. I think it works.

  • Mel @ Mel a la Via Paradiso October 25, 2011, 10:43 am

    It was lovely to meet you yesterday, I was a bit nervous! As far as the hand sanitizer debate, I am definitely in the affirmative. I work with kids, so I carry some with me in my bag. Good luck with the rest of your travels!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2011, 2:25 pm

      It was awesome to meet you too 🙂 Thanks so much for coming! I’m going to pick our pic on the HTP facebook page!

  • Eve October 25, 2011, 10:43 am

    I definitely don’t think hand sanitizer is a great plan, but I do use it sometimes, like on backpacking trips. As an aside, on my last backpacking trip I fell and got a scratch in my hand that became infected (nothing major) that wouldn’t go away even with hand sanitizer – <24 hours back at home with plain ol' soap and it was totally cleared up – and I certainly don't use 'antibacterial' soap!

  • Christie October 25, 2011, 11:00 am

    I almost vomited when I read the ‘no shoes in the airplane bathroom’ side note. Seriously. I might have in my mouth a little bit. Ew. I definitely avoid the magazines on planes as well. SkyMall is fun to browse and all, but just imagine the germs on those things from being manhandled by everyone. I can’t help but picture someone licking their fingers to turn the pages, and then the next person doing the same, and so on. Ok, i’m grossing out myself!

    I am definitely on board with using hand sanitizer, but only do when out in public and feel that it is necessary. Mainly if i’ve had to touch a lot of things that I know probably aren’t frequently cleaned (door handles) and am going to have to hold/feed Riley.

  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats October 25, 2011, 11:02 am

    I never use hand sanitizer unless i’m mentally grossed out by something and someone offers it. I’m pretty much the least germaphobic person you’ll find.

  • Jacqueline October 25, 2011, 11:22 am

    I use it every day. I have a bottle in my purse and another in my car.
    I think about all of the public door knobs, shopping carts, etc I come in contact with.
    I’m happy to know I’m not the only one that uses it all the time.
    Also Bath & Body Works has an antibac lotion. They smelly so yummy too.

  • Moni'sMeals October 25, 2011, 11:27 am

    I suddendly have NO desire to go to the airport…ever! haha.

    I am a fan of hand sanitizer and washing my hands ALL the time. 🙂

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife October 25, 2011, 11:29 am

    If the hand sanitizer smells good, I carry it with me. But I wash my hands regularly—and use the sanitizer on top of that. Extra clean!!

  • Lindsay Loves Veggies October 25, 2011, 11:34 am

    Welcome to my beautiful city! Looks like it’s even going to be a nice day in Seattle today!

    The hospital where I work requires us to “gel in and gel out” of every patient room as we leave and enter. They’re very cautious, but it seems to work! That’s also accompanied by washing out hands every single time we enter the kitchen. On a typical work day I probably sanitize about 80 times and wash my hands about 15 times. Crazy!

  • Pam C October 25, 2011, 11:40 am

    I work in a hospital so trust me the hand sanitizer debate comes up often. We even have yearly in-service training where we spend almost an hour talking about hand washing and stopping the spread of germs!They say if there is any visible dirtiness then you must wash your hands with soap and water, or sanitize until you can get to one. Also there is only one kind of germs that the full strength sanitizers don’t work on, its some crazy diarrhea disease.

    I am pretty skeptical/ critical of what big hospitals tell you though and wash my hands instead of sanitizing whenever possible. But when I do sanitize I use the aloe purrell (I carry my own around) and a tiny travel size eucerin cream both that I refill at home with the large size. It really helps with the drying out. I easily wash and/or sanitize my hands 20 times a day.

    ps-I carry lysol wipes for when I eat my lunch. You’re not that crazy, but imagine how we’d be with babies hahaha!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2011, 2:26 pm

      oh god. my poor future children. i’ll raise germaphobes (but only in public places – they can reuse their own workout clothes). LOL

      • Pam C October 26, 2011, 12:06 am

        HAHAHA I love blogs even more because they validate my craziness!

  • Ilana October 25, 2011, 11:41 am

    So not into hand sanitizer. If my immune system is compromised to the point that encountering regular germs makes me sick, there’s something wrong with ME and I better get that checked out, not pour a bunch of chemicals on my hands in the false hope that I’m actually protecting myself.
    Also I always feel like my hands get dirty from the sanitizer. It never feels clean.

  • Jen@FoodFamilyFitness October 25, 2011, 11:41 am

    I use hand sanitizer when soap and water isn’t available. And I always use it after changing a dirty diaper…even after washing my hands.

  • Shelly @ EpicOrganic.net October 25, 2011, 11:46 am

    I only use hand sanitizer in casinos (poker chips, ewww), but when I fly, I do try to prevent getting sick – but I do it by drinking those Airborne vitamin C boosters and eating extra stuff with immune-boosting vitamins a few days before, during, and after. I used to always catch a cold every time I flew, but my last 3 trips since being religious about watching my immune boosting nutrition, I’ve been fine. I do tend to wash my hands more frequently, though.

  • kris October 25, 2011, 11:46 am

    I am ALL for hand sanitizer. I actually carry wet wipes with me, especially when I travel. I literally wipe down my entire seat and surroundings. Starting with the head rest (if it’s leather and not cloth) to the arm rests, tray tables, and the wall/window shade. I know its kind of insane, and I get the craziest looks, but I feel like those places are germ ridden. It makes a long plane ride a bit more comfortable. Usually my wet wipes are black and filthy when I’m done. I don’t think the airlines ever clean those seats!

  • Ellie October 25, 2011, 11:51 am

    I never use hand sanitizer. I’m sure I have at some point but it’s been years. I also won’t buy any product that claims to be anti bacterial.

    • Ellie October 25, 2011, 12:00 pm

      Oops. I almost never get sick even when everyone around me is. I have a 3-year-old and she had only been sick a couple times in her life. I strongly believe that sanitizing everything is bad for out health. I do worry about super germs being caused by our reliance on such products.

  • Amy October 25, 2011, 11:52 am

    Haha I pretty much never, ever use hand sanitizer. Germs are good for you! MAYBE if someone else asks if I want some, I’ll take some.

  • Ashley @ Cooking for John October 25, 2011, 11:53 am

    I’m a teacher, and use hand sanitizer whenever I deem necessary. For instance, if a student sneezes on a borrowed pencil. I also work at a day care at my gym, and use it regularly there. I have even gone as far as to rub in on my face, if kids are putting their fingers in their mouths and touching my face. Haha! I am not a huge fan of the idea of hand sanitizer, and am actually hoping to find something more natural, but equally effective to use! 🙂

  • meredith (pursuing balance) October 25, 2011, 11:58 am

    i work at a hospital and use so much hand sanitizer. there is sanitizer located outside of each patient’s room, so we sanitize going in and out.

  • ashley October 25, 2011, 12:05 pm

    Hand sanitizer does not work against the most common strain of infective diarrhea. C Diff. At the hospital, no hand sanitizer allowed for C Diff patients. Soap and water, however, kills it all.

    • Caitlin October 25, 2011, 2:27 pm

      The words “infective diarrhea” give me the willies.

  • Mari October 25, 2011, 12:06 pm

    I tried hand sanitizer once and ended up with red and burning hands for three days, so that rather put me off it…

  • Kathy October 25, 2011, 12:11 pm

    I would be forever LOST without my sanitizer(s). I have 3 in my purse and one in my car. Yes I can debate that using the stuff for long periods could possibly make them ineffective down the road to some germs, but until that point, I rely on the stuff all day long. The older I get, the more snooty I become with germs. Whenever in public, I am forever washing my hands off. Menus, handrails (which I try not to touch), escalators, doorknobs, tables, people’s hands, grocery carts, you name it, I touch it, I wash. No, it doesn’t replace real hand washing, but like you, if that’s all you have – it is better than nothing!

    • Kathy October 25, 2011, 12:20 pm

      Oh and another thing I learned: when using your credit card and/or debit card and you are asked to sign your name, don’t use the pen or pencils laying on the counter. Use your own. You get so many germs from using public writing instruments. When using the (fake) pens attached to the card swipers, I immediately grab for the sanitizer too. Yucky. You should also wash off your credit cards also because of other people handling those.

  • Sarah October 25, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I think the best defense against illness is keeping your immune system healthy by eating good, whole foods, and exercising.

    I’d bet it’s being healthy, and not the hand sanitizer, that has kept you from getting sick throughout all your travels.

  • Johanna B October 25, 2011, 12:43 pm

    I work in a hospital where we are required to wash or sanitize our hands lots and lots. Honestly, away from the hospital I tend not to use hand sanitizer but I do wash my hands whenever I get a chance.

  • Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile October 25, 2011, 12:50 pm

    I definitely used hand sanitizer in desperate measures! If I’m not anywhere near a sink or anything then yes. Otherwise, just wash regularly!

  • Jamie October 25, 2011, 12:50 pm

    I try to only use sanitizer when there is no opportunity to wash my hands. (which I do a million times a day…) I do believe that
    killing all the not so bad bacteria and leaving the truly hearty strains may possibly leave us in a world of hurt at some point in the future (we’re just figuring out how to kill all the bad diseases we have around NOW) and also I just don’t feel like my hands are really CLEAN unless soap and water are involved…but force me to use a port-a-potty and all bets are off…I go in there with disinfectant spray, (yes, they make travel size) Wet Ones and Cottonelle and then line the seat with about 5 layers of paper…and I still feel the need to shower when I get home…I shudder at the mere thought of a port-a-potty…

  • Marissa C October 25, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Why not use something like this:


    Gets the job done without creating “superbugs”

    In fact, I think I’ll buy some for people to use when our baby is born in December!

    I know places like hospitals use it all the time…but they are also MRSA, etc. hotspots! Even my med school hubby isn’t a fan of the anti-bacterial stuff.

    Additionally, if you want to stop creating resistant “germs” FINISH YOUR ANTIBIOTICS. There are so many drugs that are virtually useless now because:

    A. People demand them when they don’t need them. Overuse of drugs is a problem…here’s an example of what happened when Chinese farmers overused a drug that was effective against Bird Flu:


    B. People start to “feel better” and don’t finish their course of antibiotics–>resistant bacteria!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2011, 2:28 pm

      Amen to those comments re: antibotics. SOOO true.

  • Ella, RD October 25, 2011, 1:06 pm

    Wow. I’m not a germophobe, but I shudder to think about the airport security floor and how many times I’ve walked on it barefoot. I mean, if you’re traveling in flip-flops, you’re not doing to remember to throw some socks in your purse!

  • Verna October 25, 2011, 1:06 pm

    I use hand sanitizer. I had a baby girl 9 days ago and I don’t want anyone getting sick right now so I’m washing and sanitizing like crazy!

  • Amber K October 25, 2011, 1:11 pm

    I don’t use it if I have the option to actually wash my hands, but I will use it in a pinch.

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat October 25, 2011, 1:17 pm

    I had no idea there was such a debate, ha ha! I use hand sanitizer when hand washing is not an option. I do carry it in my purse. But I don’t expect it to help with everything, just the common cold really. And it’s a good feeling to have clean hands, especially if you have one of the smell-good hand sanitizers 🙂

  • Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers October 25, 2011, 1:44 pm

    Thanks for the info. I’m usually not an over-washer or over-sanitizer due to the super bug debate. However, a lot of people are sick at my office, and that calls for reinforcements!

  • AndreaClaire October 25, 2011, 1:56 pm

    I always carry sanitizer with me when I travel (especially when I lived in Tanzania) and access to soap and water might be spotty, but I don’t use it when I’m home. I’m an advocate for building up your own immune system. Short of living in a bubble, you’re going to come in contact with germs at some point throughout the day; shouldn’t your body be able to handle them for the short while until you get to soap and water?

  • Rosa - Fitness, Food, Fulfilled October 25, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I do carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse and use it periodically, but never feel like my hands are really clean. I think that being in contact with germs to a certain degree is good for your immune system, but there are certain ones that can really make you sick.
    And it is so gross to see people walking around barefoot in bathrooms. So, so nasty!

  • marci October 25, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Cannot stand the smell of hand sanitizer. Yecchhh. I always feel so dirty after a plane trip.
    And PS I did choose a crib bedding that is kind of like the backdrop of your blog. Random!

    • Caitlin October 25, 2011, 2:33 pm

      you did? how exciting! i would love to see pics.

  • Briana October 25, 2011, 2:31 pm

    I work in a hospital right now and need to hand sanitize constantly as a required protocol. If it’s killing good bacteria, than hundreds of doctors I know are walking around without it! I will wash my hands when I can, that’s preferred, but most of us use the waterless stuff.

  • Katie of Cabbage Ranch October 25, 2011, 2:39 pm

    I’ve noticed those who are hard-core hand sanitizers are usually sick the most. That seems a chicken-or-egg situation. As for me, I’m a believer in good dirt! We spend a lot of time around a lot of dirt and animals and we (including my toddler) are almost never sick. However, I do use sanitizer when traveling or at high population events.

    • AmandaonMaui October 25, 2011, 3:22 pm

      I agree. The people I see getting sick the most are the people who overdo it on the sanitization.

  • Candice October 25, 2011, 2:52 pm

    This is random, Caitlin, but I used to have the same problem with my glasses–I was too attached and didn’t want to try new ones! But recently I got some from Warby Parker (http://store.warbyparker.com/) and I LOVE them. They even donate a pair of glasses to someone in need for every pair sold. There are tons of styles and I think you’d look cute in them!

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 4:35 pm

      That is really cool that they donate glasses for every purchase – reminds me of Tom’s. Thanks for passing this along.

      • Candice October 25, 2011, 5:07 pm

        No prob 🙂 I love Toms, as well, for the same reason.

  • Kris @ tryingtotri October 25, 2011, 2:59 pm

    I don’t use sanitizer very often – I have skin sensitivities, and I react badly to most! So I try to wash them frequently instead, and keep one small travel bottle in my purse of a kind I don’t have too many problems with!

    But I work in a casino, and trust me – you want to talk about dirty, germy places? UGH! Money is the dirtiest substance I’ve ever seen…

  • Amanda @ AmandaRunsNY October 25, 2011, 3:14 pm

    I have mixed feelings about sanitizers, but I use them in the office a lot. I like to use them after sneezing and also before eating when other people in the office have colds. Otherwise, I don’t typically use them. This is also because one time a sanitizer leaked in my purse and I walked around reeking like alcohol for a whole day. This was NOT fun.

  • Meg October 25, 2011, 3:22 pm

    My skin is too sensitive for hand sanitizer, so I don’t use it. I teach high school though and everybody else on staff swears by the stuff.

  • Kristyn October 25, 2011, 3:25 pm

    My 2 cents is coming from the voice of a first grade teacher. =) Yes my students are dirty little bugs…they are kids! I think hand sanitizer is lovely, but nothing beats washing your hands with soap and water. However, food allergies and illnesses have been on the rise since the invention of this. I feel that parents over use the stuff. I washed my hands when I was young…back in the late 80s early 90s…before the invention of this stuff and I can’t remember anyone who had any peanut or tree nut allergies. It’s a different world we live in today and although hand sanitizer is great, I think it might be creating more harm than good because of parents over using it with their kids. 2 or 3 times a day, fine. But I see parents whipping that thing out every other second. That was harsh. My my vent is now over. =) Great post!

  • Rebecca October 25, 2011, 3:31 pm

    There’s a gal from church who is a major neat freak. her friends seriously buy her hand sanitizer for her birthday and Christmas, and it makes her the happiest girl in the world.

    I’ve heard that it kills the good bacteria…

    I carry mini ones in my backpack/purse for if I need them, but actually haven’t used them since buying them. Last month. Heh.

    I work custodial staff at school, and let me tell you, I have a lot more respect for people who clean. One of the things that we do after classrooms are set up and entryways are cleaned ifs to sanitize phones and drinking fountains. And if there’s time we also sanitize surfaces in general, like railings and door knobs. So much more peace of mind knowing that someone actually does make it a priority to to clean at least SOME of the surfaces on campus!

  • Andrea of Care to Breed October 25, 2011, 3:58 pm

    I never used hand sanitizer until I had a baby. If you’re cleaning someone’s butt 8 times a day, sanitizer is a must.
    Love the new layout!

  • Brianna October 25, 2011, 4:14 pm

    Why don’t you just get new lenses for your glasses frames? That’s what I did. The new lenses came uncut. When I went to pic them up, they took my old frames and cut the new lenses to fit. No problem!

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 4:35 pm

      Oooo good idea!! I will look into this.

  • erica October 25, 2011, 4:32 pm

    i love hand sanitizers! but i think they should be used in conjunction with normal hand washing. i was so grossed out in a public bathroom when i saw a little girl head over to the sink after using the bathroom and her mom tells her “no, no, you don’t have to wash your hands, i have the antibacterial stuff”

  • Andrea October 25, 2011, 4:33 pm

    As an ER nurse, I am allllllll about the hand sanitizer. Management actually encourages us to use it instead of washing when our hands are not visibly soiled. Also, whenever I am out of the house (like at the mall or whatever), I feel disgusting eating if I don’t sanitize my hands first. I used to get colds all the frieken time, now I NEVER get colds. *knock on wood.*

  • Rachel October 25, 2011, 5:23 pm

    I’m a firm believer in the power of soap and water – since I got vigilant about washing my hands as soon as I get to work, as soon as I get home, and before eating in public I haven’t even had a cold. I only use hand sanitizer if there isn’t another option. I’ve read too many studies about the development of super bacteria to be free and easy with the sanitizer!

    I have one friend who, when she’s out, will always use sanitizer instead of washing her hands, and it feels wrong to me – sure, it’s sanitizing, but what about generally *cleaning*?

  • kristen @ livinlifeinlouie October 25, 2011, 5:48 pm

    EWWWWW walking into a bathroom without shoes or socks! thats gross!
    Im a germ nut. I wipe down the computer I use at work (since we all share) oh and the phones too!

  • Katie October 25, 2011, 6:29 pm

    I am not a huge hand washer. I wash my hands in the bathroom and if I’ve been doing anything to get them dirty (being outside, cleaning, etc), but other than that I don’t really wash them very often. I rarely get sick, and I think it’s because I take great care of myself and have a strong immune system, largely in part to exposing myself to some germs! I don’t think we’re designed to live in a sterile environment, and I think trying to create one results in fragile immune systems and super-germs. But then… I grew up playing in the woods and working with horses, and I’ve worked with animals all my adult life… so I’m aware I might be more germ-tolerant than average 🙂

  • Laura October 25, 2011, 6:51 pm

    When I was a nanny I was fastidious about washing my hands. I washed after changing dirty nappies, after touching anything gross, etc. etc. and was never sick, even being around sick kids often. Now I drink lots of water and take lots of bathroom breaks at my office which necessitates hand washing. Needless to say, I still hardly ever get sick. I blame the frequent hand washing. And I never use hand sanitizer. Skeeves me out.

  • Lauren @ Sweet and Twisted October 25, 2011, 8:09 pm

    I think between the antibacterial soap and the hand sanitizer we’re creating super germs! It just make sense to me. Also I never use hand sanitizer and I’m rarely sick.

  • Kari @ Human, MD October 25, 2011, 8:40 pm

    Someone may have already said this (didn’t read through every comment) but alcohol based hand sanitizers will not create superbugs like improper antibiotic use can. The active ingredient is ethanol (or some combination of alcohols) and bacteria don’t become resistant to alcohol like they do antibiotics. I use hand sanitizer regularly at work, but also wash with soap and water regularly because too much sanitizers makes me feel scuzzy. Also, washing with soap and water takes longer to be effective than sanitizers so it’s generally a more effective way to kill bugs because people are more likely to do it right.

    Also, alcohol based and antiseptic hand sanitizers generally kill the “bad” bugs like MRSA and VRE, and don’t make them worse as they are by definition resistant to specific antibiotics. Phew, sorry for the info overload! Figured I’d contribute where I can!

    • CaitlinHTP October 25, 2011, 9:17 pm

      Oh thanks for this info. Now we know!

  • Delia October 25, 2011, 8:49 pm

    I work in healthcare, so there are waterless sanitizers all over the place. They are convenient, and I use them, but I do prefer handwashing given the opportunity. It just seems more natural since that’s what I do at home and in public. I’ve gotten promotional pocket-sized hand sanitizers but never wanted to use them.

    P. S. Those waterless sanitizers won’t get rid of C. diff though. You do not want C. diff diarrhea.

  • Amy October 25, 2011, 8:51 pm

    I am totally that person that wears only socks on airplanes. But, for the most part at least, I try not to put my socks in my mouth.

    • Jen October 26, 2011, 1:39 am

      Hahahahaha. 🙂

  • Molly @ RDexposed October 25, 2011, 8:52 pm

    Love the glasses! And I work in a hospital. Take a guess at how many times I wash and sanitize my hands in a single day (and then sanitize other various surfaces!).

  • caronae October 25, 2011, 10:04 pm

    I love this question! I do on occasion use hand sanitizer, but in general I’m in the “hand sanitizer creates super germs and is bad for society” camp. My parents are doctors and are not fans. BUT sometimes when I get on or off the subway, I use some if it’s available and I can’t get too a sink – I think that holding the subway pole is one of the most disgusting things ever.

  • Michelle October 25, 2011, 10:50 pm

    I use it only as a last resort and am really squicked out. In general, though, it definitely falls into the “creates superbugs” category for me! Also, it is NOT a good idea to constantly rub those alcohols and chemicals into your skin! Absorbing that junk into your body’s biggest organ (and hence into your bloodstream and everywhere else inside) is toxic! I knew someone who had infertility issues, finally became pregnant, but obsessively sanitized – I mean a LOT of it – and miscarried. I admit I had to wonder if there was a link, there. 🙁

    • Caitlin October 26, 2011, 5:43 am

      I am so sorry about your miscarriage. I’m sure it was NOT because of something you did or did not do. 🙁 Love you!

  • Kate October 25, 2011, 10:52 pm

    A few weeks ago it was, well, sexy-time, and it was pitch dark in the room. My husband went to grab some lube and mistakenly grabbed the Purell off the bedside table instead, which he applied liberally to himself. Thank god he realized before my lady parts got sanitized! That would have stung like a bee-yatch!

    • Caitlin October 26, 2011, 5:46 am

      ohhh meeee geeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  • Sarah October 25, 2011, 11:25 pm

    Hand sanitizer doesn’t create super germs-as mentioned above. However I am extremely passionate about antibiotic misuse! Pitt does a really great job of not prescribing antibiotics unless they are clearly necessary, which is important on a big campus. Ps. Caitlin you would love all the new hand sanitizer stations Pitt installed during the big swine flu scare during my sophomore year. They’re all over market and the computer labs.

    • Caitlin October 26, 2011, 5:43 am

      yesssssssss! 🙂

  • Leila @ Spinach and Skittles October 26, 2011, 12:26 am

    You should wear your glasses more often – totally adorbs! I can’t believe you’ve had the same frame for 11 years. I abuse mine and they get dinged up very quickly.
    I’m a hand sani freak. My hands are always dry because I’m constantly washing my hands or using hand sani. In my defense, I’m an elementary school teacher, and I really don’t want to catch every illness in the petri dish that is my classroom.

  • M October 26, 2011, 3:04 am

    There was a study done where ppl were getting their blood sugar tested through the finger after touching fruit. They didn’t wash their hands with soap and water – just alcohol swabs. Their blood sugar was way higher than normal even after swabbing with alcohol multiple times. Then they washed with soap and water and their blood sugar result went back down to normal. I just thought it was interesting bc I work with cupcakes and got my blood sugar tested right after work but only got cleaned with an alcohol swab and the result was 111. Every other time I washed with soap and water and my blood sugar is 92. Interesting me thinks!

    • Caitlin October 26, 2011, 5:46 am


      JEALOUS you ‘work with cupcakes’!!! are you a baker?

  • Marika October 26, 2011, 3:31 am

    I use hand sanitizer only when traveling, like when I’m walking around a city all day and don’t always have easy access to a place where I can wash my hands. I don’t use it in everyday life.
    When traveling in North American this summer I thought it was interesting that hand sanitizer dispensers are popping up in public places (I know I saw them in Montreal, at a shopping mall in Maryland, and maybe in Boston too?). While I don’t think it should be over-used, making it accessible to the general public in a crowded place will probably help to prevent the spreading of germs and illnesses.

  • Julia H. @ The Petite Spiel October 26, 2011, 11:29 pm

    I use hand sanitizer, definitely!

    Funny thing: I have a good friend who is skeeved out by hand sanitizer. Yup. So odd. While most people are skeeved by germs & use hand sanitizer to take care of that, she’s skeeved by the sanitizer itself. I don’t get it!

  • Dominique October 27, 2011, 12:02 am

    I work in a lab where we do microbiological testing so hand sanitizer is pretty dominant in my workplace. However, since we use gloves, have safety glasses and lab coats, I only use it in serious situations (like if a sample might be positive for something). I do believe that hand sanitizers kill good bacteria and they also dry my hands out like crazy.

    The note you mentioned about the flu is totally true. I was watching a show on Discovery recently saying that a sneeze and cough can travel 7-10 feet (I can’t remember the exact distance) and you’re most likely to contract an illness if you breathe in the bacteria droplets.

  • Meredith November 1, 2011, 6:42 pm

    Why not use baby wipes? I use both!

  • Trisha February 4, 2012, 7:36 pm

    I love that your blog has so many fun little debates! I’m semi-new to your blog, so I have a LOT of post reading to catch up on 🙂 I am a soon-to-be nurse, and as a nurse you literally use hand sanitizer 100 times per day… no joke. EVERY time you walk in AND out of a patient room.. all day, for a 12.5 hour shift! Ha! It definitely does dry out my skin, but I’m not too concerned about the superbug debate. Mostly because my career forces me to use the stuff so much, even if I wanted to cut back, it would be impossible!

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