WASHINGTON - It's a sign of cold and flu season - hand sanitizers in your pockets, purses, office-places and schools.
Marketwatch reports that hand sanitizer sales totaled more than $173 million last year, and that was during a mild flu season, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm.
Marketwatch says sales typically stay consistent except for 2009 during the swine flu outbreak, when sales jumped to $301 million.
It's too early to know whether sales will increase this year as the flu outbreak worsens.
But do hand sanitizers really work to kill germs?
On WTOP's "Ask the Doctor" program Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, says hand sanitizers work well if there's not a sink around.
"They'll work but the most important thing is washing your hands," he says. "Washing your hands is good, better than anything."
(Copyright 2013 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)
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