With flu season fast approaching, schools, doctor’s offices, and households everywhere are stocking up on hand sanitizer. Millions will be using the liquid in hopes that they will avoid the dreaded flu virus. Many strains of the virus are quickly neutralized after coming in contact with an ethanol-based sanitizer. A new study, though, warns of at least one flu strain that is resistant to it.

Researchers at the Kyoto Profectural University of Medicine in Japan uncovered a strain of the flu, Influenza-A virus (IVA), doesn’t get killed quiet as quickly as other strains. It remains active after rubbing your hands with hand sanitizer, unless you do so for four minutes.

The strain is able to survive due to it’s thick consistency of sputum, a mixture of mucus and saliva commonly coughed up by flu patients. The thick texture of the sputum keeps the virus protected and impede the ethanol in sanitizer from getting in. If someone with IVA coughs on their hand and then shakes your hand a few minutes later, you would have to rub with sanitizer for at least 4 minutes to deactivate the virus completely, even if only the slightest small trace of wet, infected mucus transferred over.

“The physical properties of mucus protect the virus from inactivation,” says physician and molecular gastroenterologist Dr. Ryohei Hirose in a release by the American Society for Microbiology. “Until the mucus has completely dried, infectious IAV can remain on the hands and fingers, even after appropriate antiseptic hand rubbing.”

Thankfully, washing hands together with antibiotic soap was shown to deactivate the IAV virus within 30 seconds, even when mucus was still wet.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

One in five men would give up sex for a full year to get the perfect beard, according to new research. A new survey of 2,000 Americans, commissioned by Honest Amish, examined facial hair, confidence and the relationship between the two. It found that 75 percent of male respondents say they feel much more confident […]

A new law in the United States that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 is now in effect. President Donald Trump signed the new minimum age into law as part of a sweeping spending bill. The federal agency also released its updated rules around the sale of tobacco […]

Exercise is important no matter your age, right? Well according to one study of 2,000 adults, on average the age when most feel too old to work out regularly was only 41 years old. Two in five respondents felt too old to get back in the gym as well. Could this really be the case? […]

A new study shows that three-quarters of Americans believe natural remedies like cannabis and marijuana products are safer overall than prescription medications. The study, commissioned by Remedy Review, surveyed 2,000 Americans. In total, 78 percent believed cannabis should be more widely available as a pain treatment – 52 percent were in strong agreement while 27 […]