Ebola Worries? The Most Important Way To Avoid Infection Is...

Suzanne Robertson
Health care workers, flight attendants - take note.

Health checks before entering public buildings, extensive cleaning of public areas with chlorine, "temperature guns" to check for fever and airport screenings of travelers - all of these precautions are taking place in Liberia. 

But in the US, where there is only one reported case of Ebola, people can put away the biohazard suit and take off your face masks.  

The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta has published the best precaution to take against Ebola (and other illnesses). 

According to the CDC, hand hygiene is the single most important infection control measure. Correct use is outlined on their website

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after assisting ill travelers or coming in contact with body fluids or surfaces that may be contaminated.
  • An alcohol-based hand cleaner is an alternative to hand-washing but will not be effective if hands are visibly soiled.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose with unwashed or gloved hands.

ABC News recently produced a video putting hand sanitizers and soaps to the test

Sanitizer with alcohol was tested against one labeled "natural," containing no alcohol.  The non-alcohol sanitizer's results were not as good. Alcohol-based sanitizers work because alcohol breaks up bacterial proteins, and kills them.

Both regular and antibacterial soap were found to be equally effective. The CDC says they're about the same at preventing illness.