Demand for anti-bacterial soaps and other products has risen sharply as people try to avoid getting swine flu.
Sales of cough, cold and flu remedies have risen 70 per cent, antibacterial soaps by 54 per cent and normal soap by 20 per cent on levels prior to the swine flu outbreak.
Ten per cent more tissues have been sold compared to last year, presumably because the NHS advises people always to carry tissues to limit the spread of the virus.
The NHS advises people to wash their hands regularly with soap and water to prevent infection with flu. However it does not specify the use of anti-bacterial soap since that has no extra power against the virus.
The shopping website MySupermarket.co.uk recorded the sales changes, which it said included a 279 per cent rise in sales of Carex Hand Gel, which is a well-known anti-bacterial soap. Spokesman Jonny Steel said: “It’s interesting to see that in particular sales of Carex Hand Gel have ballooned.
“Cough and flu medicines are also racing off the shelves, which definitely suggests that people are stocking up their medicine cabinets, in case they fall ill. While sales of all liquid soap have increased by 20 per cent, it’s the antibacterial soap products that that have really seen massive growth.
“People are clearly becoming more hygiene-conscious in the wake of the swine flu pandemic, and more aware that the best way to prevent the flu from spreading is regularly to wash or sanitise their hands.”