Antibacterial Alcogel Use Found to Breed “Supergerms”

Friday, November 01, 2013 Stef dela Cruz, MD 0 Comments

Are you a germaphobe? If you find yourself reaching for your bottle of alcogel every fifteen minutes, you probably are. I don’t blame you, really. But did you know that the alcogel you carry in your bag might not be enough?

Whether you’re a doctor, nurse, med student, or just a health buff who happened to pass by my blog, take this opportunity to find out why your hands are going to cost you thousands of pesos each year – that is, if you don’t do something about them.

Patients Know Doctors Don’t Wash Their Hands

If you’re not a health professional, let me paint a different picture for you. Imagine that you’re at the doctor’s clinic. After your doctor sees a handful of patients, he asks his secretary to call you in.

Guess what? He didn’t wash his hands before he shakes your hand.

Don’t say it’s not a big deal. It is. Who knows what the patients before you were in for! What if they went to your doctor because of a serious infection? After all, many of the most serious infections you’ll experience in your lifetime come from the hospital!

Better than Alcohol?

Alcohol is a savior. It helps prevent the transmission of nosocomial infections (also known as “hospital-acquired infections”). But alcohol isn’t good enough when you’re dealing with deadly germs.

Thank God there’s finally something better than alcohol! It also smells and feels good, by the way. (You’ll find out what it is soon enough!)

I remember carrying a bag of Sterilium with me when I was still a med student. Unfortunately, Sterilium stinks! Pardon me for being honest, but I just hated how it smelled a little bit like formaldehyde.

Softa-Man from B.Braun

Imagine my surprise when I tried Softa-Man. It’s a hand hygiene product meant for doctors and nurses – and it’s from B.Braun (B. Braun, for crying out loud!).

Why I Heart Softa-Man

Softa-Man is my “discovery of the year”. I feel like I stumbled upon something precious when I found out what it could do! Let me tell you why I’m head over heels for it.

  • Softa-Man is better than alcohol because it combines two types of alcohol (ethanol and n-propanol). While ethanol takes care of the viruses, n-propanol takes care of the bacteria and fungi. They kill more germs than, say, the alcohol you have at home or the Sterilium many of us doctors carry with us!


  • It’s a big plus for me that it smells like expensive cologne. Compliance to hand hygiene is obviously low among doctors. But if a hand hygiene product smells great, doctors are bound to keep using it!
  • Unlike Sterilium, Softa-Man is not sticky to touch! That’s one of my pet peeves about Sterilium: It leaves a gooey after-feel. Softa-Man, however, feels like lotion because it has allantoin, bisabolol, and pro-Vitamin B5. (These substances, by the way, help repair skin damage, too.)

Finally, an alcohol-based hand hygiene product that won’t make us feel like we’re washing our hands in goo! But you’re probably thinking, “Alcohol is probably good enough. Better yet, there’s that nice-smelling alcogel at Watson’s that comes with an anti-bacterial agent.”

Uh, if you keep buying those, you’re about to breed supergerms. Allow me to explain.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy “Anti-Bacterial” Alcogel

Oh, I’m telling you, germaphobes absolutely love those alcogel formulas sold in drugstores. After all, they have triclosan, chlorhexidine, or some other chemical that kills bacteria. The problem with this is that it helps breed drug-resistant organisms!

Alcogel with anti-bacterial compounds help breed supergerms.

Whenever you use an alcogel with an anti-bacterial substance, the germs on your hands (and your body) get used to those substances. Soon enough, you are officially the carrier of supergerms who won’t get affected by other anti-bacterial agents!

Oh, and did you know that doctors don’t really wash their hands or use alcohol as much as they should? (Sorry, my dear colleagues, but the cat is out of the bag! Even the World Health Organization knows it.) Here’s the truth about doctors – I’m sure you want the gory details!

Stef dela CruzAbout the blogger
Stef dela Cruz is a doctor and writer. She received the 2013 Award for Health Media from the Department of Health. She maintains a health column in Health.Care Magazine and contributes to The Manila Bulletin. Add her to your circles.