When used correctly, hand sanitizer can be an important tool in your cold- and flu-fighting arsenal.
Plain soap and water are the best way to remove germs from your hands. But when soap and water aren't available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is the next-best thing.
Look for a product with a main ingredient of ethyl alcohol, ethanol, isopropanol, or isopropyl, said Kocher, who follows the CDC's guidelines for hand sanitizers. Sanitizers with these types of alcohol are more effective for killing germs.