Wichita State News

Newsline: Is it better to fight germs with soap or sanitizer?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification. 

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs. If you have additional questions for Fawn Beckman after listening to the WSU Newsline, please call her at (316) 978-3111 or fawn.beckman@wichita.edu.


Most people know there are germs, but not everyone realizes there are good germs and bad germs. The best way to reduce the number of bad germs is to wash your hands in soap and water, not hand sanitizers, according to Fawn Beckman, a biology lab technician and germ expert at Wichita State University. 

Voice wrap:

Announcer: When we get sick, we blame it on germs, and why not? They are everywhere. But germs may be getting a bad rap, according to Fawn Beckman, a biology lab technician and germ expert at Wichita State University.

Beckman: "Well, germs in general, these are things that we're surrounded by every day. And we're constantly covered in them. There are good germs and bad germs. We are colonized by good germs and we need them. It helps protect us from the bad and, of course, the bad we are picking up as we go along."

Announcer: Beckman says the best advice for reducing the number of bad germs is to wash your hands in soap and water. She says hand sanitizers are okay to use in a pinch, but be aware that sanitizers can also damage your good bacteria. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University. 

Sound bite #1

Beckman says not every bad germ makes us sick. The sound bite is 18 seconds and the outcue is "take care of it."

Beckman: "Not every germ is going to be a bad germ, and just like that not every bad germ is going to make us sick. We have immune systems that were built specifically to help protect us from becoming ill and eventually dying from the bad germs, so we can come in contact with a lot of bad germs we wouldn't even realize and our immune system would take care of it." 

Sound bite #2

Beckman explains why germs can cause us to get sick. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "to get with it."

Beckman: "The reason that the bad germs can make us sick is just from having a larger number of them enter our bodies than what we're used to dealing with. Our immune system takes time to kick in. And also if we have a germ that is going to be one that our immune system hasn't really encountered that often before, it's going to take our bodies longer to get with it." 

Sound bite #3

Beckman says washing our hands with soap and water is still the most effective way of removing bad germs. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "we're going to be."

Beckman: "By washing our hands we are removing the bad germs that we're picking up from our environment and from other people. And so that just minimizes our chance that we will become sick. The less germs that we have that we pick up that are bad, the better off we're going to be."

Sound bite #4

Beckman says soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "hand sanitizer."

Beckman: "Soap and water is always going to be the way you want to go if you have that available to wash your hands. It is a highly effective way of removing those bad germs from your skin. Hand sanitizers are good to use in a pinch if you, say, don't have soap and water available. That is the No. 1 reason you'd want to use a hand sanitizer." 

Sound bite #5

Beckman explains why hand sanitizers aren't the best method of cleaning your hands. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "to make you sick."

Beckman: "If you ever use the hand sanitizers, what ends up happening is that you can end up actually damaging your good bacteria. And by causing damage to that, that leaves you more vulnerable to the bad bacteria to have access to you to make you sick."

This story has been tagged Faculty/Staff, Research, Biological Sciences. See all RSS feeds here
Created on Thursday, January 14, 2010; Last modified on Tuesday, January 19, 2010