Survey of public knowledge level on the efficacy of alcohol-based hand sanitizers
Introduction: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have received wide-spread acceptance in many institutions as a form of disinfection. Whether the public truly understands the mode of action of these products and what they are effective and not effective against has not been examined. The goal of this paper is to test the public’s knowledge regarding alcohol-based hand sanitizers and examine if there are any demographic variables that may contribute to differences in knowledge level. Methods: An online survey was created via Survey Monkey and distributed through Facebook, a social media platform. A paper copy of the survey was distributed to participating senior homes in the Lower Mainland. The knowledge scores were analyzed using Microsoft Excel and NCSS to evaluate whether knowledge scores are affected by demographic variables. Incentives such as water bottles and tumblers were used to invite participants to take part in the survey. Results: The knowledge scores from respondents in health-related professions did not differ significantly from respondents in non-health related professions, however both groups differed from those that are not employed (P =0.000060). Differences in ethnicity did not result in a significantly different knowledge scores regarding hand sanitizers (P =0.441511). Respondents who are over the age of 40 (particularly those who are 70 and above) and respondents whose level of education was high school graduation or less lacked knowledge regarding hand sanitizers compared to other demographic groups. The majority of the respondents knew ABHS was effective against influenza virus. Nearly half of the respondents erroneously thought ABHS was effective against Norovirus. Conclusion: Government agencies and public health officials should focus educational efforts on the population who are over the age of 40, particularly the senior population, and whose level of education is high school or less.