make sure that people understand that effective hand washing is thebest way to keep yourself and your family healthy,” echoed a spokes-person for Dial, the soap manufacturer. Purell then posted on their Web site: “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), one of the ways you can help protect yourself from Swine Fluis by practicing good hand hygiene. Speciﬁc CDC recommendationsinclude keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water, orusing an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water may not beavailable.”
The disinfectant brand Lysol, too, updated its home page with in-formation on swine ﬂu, asserting that although it is not yet clear how the virus spreads, “following proper hygiene routines can help prevent the spread of illness.”
Of course, what they are trying to insinuate isthat their product is the key to good hygiene— and in turn instrumentalto staying healthy. Only they can’t
that because, well, it would be alie; in fact, hand sanitizers have not been found, by the CDC or anyoneelse, to be effective in ﬁghting airborne disease.It wasn’t just makers of soap and hygiene products who saw seriousmarketing opportunities in the swine ﬂu panic. Kleenex very swiftly rolled out a line of “antiviral” tissues, which allegedly “have a specially treated middle layer that helps stop cold and ﬂu viruses” and that “kills99.9% of cold and ﬂu viruses in the tissue within 15 minutes” and are“virucidal against Rhinoviruses Type 1A and 2; Inﬂuenza A and B; andRespiratory Syncytial Virus.”
Major online retailers such as Amazon.com and ReStockIt.comalso got into the game, taking the opportunity to manufacture andmarket swine ﬂu protection kits, swine ﬂu safety DVDs, ionic air pu-riﬁers (ranging in price from ﬁfty dollars to six hundred dollars) andhundred-dollar designer face masks.
“The spread of swine ﬂu is of global concern and we want to do our part to help contain it,” said Jen-nifer DiMotta, VP of marketing at ReStockIt.com. “These productsreally work to help curb the spread of germs and disease,” she added.
What’s in a swine ﬂu protection kit, you ask? Why, hand sanitizerand bacterial wipes, among other useless items designed to give us theillusion of protection and safety. None of these kits, some of whichcame with surgical masks and a light blue garment that looks uncannily