A reader asked (I feel like Dear Abby) about alcohol-based handwashes. Do they work against flu? The answer is Yes, but plain old soap is just as good, if not better.

News you can use, folks.

Conclusions. HH [hand hygiene] with SW [soap and water hand washing] or alcohol-based hand rub is highly effective in reducing influenza A virus on human hands, although SW is the most effective intervention. Appropriate HH may be an important public health initiative to reduce pandemic and avian influenza transmission.

–Efficacy of Soap and Water and Alcohol-Based Hand-Rub Preparations against Live H1N1 Influenza Virus on the Hands of Human Volunteers
Lindsay Grayson, Sharmila Melvani, Julian Druce4 Ian G. Barr, Susan A. Ballard, Paul D. R. Johnson, Tasoula Mastorakos, and Christopher Birch
Clinical Infectious Diseases 2009;48:285–291