Money Wise--Antiviral Kleenex - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/16/04

Money Wise--Antiviral Kleenex

The flu vaccine shortage has a lot of Americans worried about getting sick this flu season. And as a result, a new product from Kleenex is flying off store shelves: tissues that claim to actually kill the flu virus.

"I'm a little suspicious of that," said Alison Belzer, mother of two. "It doesn't seem like a tissue would be able to do that."

That's the thought of most of the people we talked to.

"That sounds like a great invention, if it works," said Savannahian Michelle Gladney.

"I think that's a very big boast," added fellow resident William Taylor.

By the looks of the store shelves, though, the Kleenex claim must be worth a shot. We wanted to see what the health experts thought of these new tissues. So, we headed to St. Joseph's/Candler to find some answers.

Leigh Craft is the infections control manager. She opened the box and pulled out a tissue, and needless to say, wasn't very impressed with it--or the claims on the box. "I do think it's misleading," she said. "I think it encourages the general public to be more fearful than necessary in the hopes to sell a product."

And, Craft read the bottom of the box, where the Kleenex claim in full is located: "New Kleenex antiviral tissue has three soft layers including a middle layer that kills 99.9 percent of the virus on the tissue within 15 minutes."

It takes 15 minutes for the virus to die in the tissue. Craft says, that's not a whole lot of help for contaminated hands. Your best bet:

*Wash your hands regularly, every time after you blow your nose.
*Use a tissue thick enough that it won't break apart when you blow your nose

"Any tissue will do," said Craft. "Just dispose of your Kleenex after you use it and wash your hands. That's the safest thing to do."

As for Alison Belzer, she says she'll stick with regular tissues for her family. That is, unless something more substantial happens with the antiviral ones. "Maybe if a doctor recommended it, I might be more inclined."

For the record, there are no doctor's claims on the boxes.

The antiviral tissues cost the same as regular tissues, but you get 25 less of them per box.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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