A report released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that, among all U.S. adults, hand disinfection rates are at a 20-year low, and that more than half of people who are tested with hand-washing products are found to have no detectable virus.
The report comes as handwashing is increasingly becoming a major part of a healthy life.
The CDC released a survey of 2,000 people last year that found that hand hygiene accounts for almost 80 percent of people’s daily activities.
In 2015, nearly 90 percent of Americans reported having a hand-held water bottle, according to the report.
As Americans have moved into more and more cities, there have also been a steady increase in outbreaks in places like Houston and Dallas, Texas, where large-scale hand-to-mouth operations have been used to handle food and water.
But handwashing with soap and water has proved to be more effective than hand disinfectant, said Dr. Daniela Carvajal-Vega, chief of the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, California.
In general, a person who uses hand sanitizers for the first time may be able to catch the virus in only a few hours.
The vast majority of cases occur after a week or two, according the CDC.
But there are other methods people can try.
A person can wash their hands by hand, using a towel or disposable sanitizer, which does not get washed.
In that situation, a hand is not considered infected, but it does not eliminate the possibility of a case.
Handwashing with the hand saniters in the CDC report was done at the request of a hospital in Dallas.
But the study did not test the efficacy of the handwashing products used there.
The CDC says that in the first two years of the study, about half of all patients tested tested positive for HSV-2.
But after a year of testing, that number dropped to around two-thirds, and the remaining cases were in a smaller group of people.
The study showed that there were fewer cases of HSV in people who used hand sanitized hand sanitary towels than in those who used plain old soap and vinegar sanitizes.
And the CDC found that while the virus was being spread in the hands of people with the infection, it was spread mostly among people who had been washing their hands for at least a week.
People who use hand sanitation products have been urged to use them with caution and to wash their hand with soap or water immediately after each use.