Hand Sanitizer Eases 99.9% of Flu Fears

You might have noticed the hand sanitizers around campus. The nurses in the Kjos Health Center sure hope you have. In an effort to combat the flu this year, Concordia has purchased over $6,900 worth of sanitizer, said Mark Dixon, delivery/stockroom supervisor.

With worries of H1N1 in place well before the school year began, Concordia took precautions and put up sanitizer in hopes that students will use it to prevent spreading sickness.

“It’s really what we should be doing all the time,” said Kathy Benson, Health Center Administrator.

The changes are obvious; there are bottles are by every computer on campus in an attempt to get students to sanitize before and after touching such a shared surface. Reducing the spread of germs is going to be crucial in combating the flu season this year—especially in close quarters like the dormitories, library, and classrooms that a campus setting provides.

Benson said she wasn’t sure if the hand sanitizer was really being used.
So some observation was in order.

In an hour at the fishbowl, two out of 15 people sanitized their hands. But, unfortunately, they only sanitized before typing; so they still walked away with the keyboard germs wriggling on their fingertips. However, they were kind enough to not share their own germs with others. Thank you, sanitizers.

In the Ivers computer lab over the course of an hour, eight out of 11 clueless subjects failed to sanitize. On the upside, two of the three who did managed to sanitize before and after their keyboard use. Plus, one person came into the computer lab for the sole purpose of rubbing some of the germ-killing gel onto his palms. Kudos.

This low percentage of sanitizers called for a little more investigation.

“I see it sitting there, and I know I should use it. But I don’t. I think it’s just laziness,” said Casey Johnson, junior at Concordia.

One student felt very strongly about not using the sanitizer.

 “I don’t use it. It’s bad for your immune system. Your body gets used to not having to fight germs,” said Brittany Bruer, junior at Concordia.

Sanitizers are not only in the computer labs around campus. There have been 444 seven- and 12-ounce bottles distributed around campus— including all academic, residence and administrative buildings, Dixon said in an email interview.

The hand sanitizer is being applied; whole bottles have been emptied.

“Of the initial distribution of the 12-ounce bottles, approximately 24 have been replaced,” Dixon said, as of Oct. 14.

Some students swear by it.

“Hand sanitizer is not bad for you. Sure, you have good bacteria on your hands, but at this stage in the game you’re much better off using it,” said Brent Lawson, senior at Concordia.

Although the sanitizer has been in use, nurses are seeing many students come through the Health Center. This is probably due to the early flu season; students were exposed before even coming to Concordia, Benson said.

“I’d like to think we’d be seeing even more if we hadn’t taken these precautions,” Benson said.

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