Hand cleaning is an important tool in the fight against COVID-19 Scientists have shown that an excellent hand cleaning routine can significantly slow the progress of an outbreak.
However, there is more than one method to clean your hands, and researchers are keen to understand which approach is best. A group of scientists just recently put hand drying under the microscope.
After washing one’s hands, there may still be recurring pathogens on the skin. The researchers wished to comprehend which technique of drying the hands eliminated these residual infections most effectively and prevented individuals from transferring them to surface areas.
Particularly, they checked the performance of paper towels and jet clothes dryers.
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The scientists were due to present their findings at the European Congress on Medical Microbiology and Transmittable Illness. This year’s occasion is no longer taking location since of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Hand drying is an essential part of hand cleaning. Microorganisms make it through much better in moisture, therefore any that remain attached during washing are most likely to spread to surfaces if individuals do not dry their hands correctly.
Dr. Ines Moura from the University of Leeds, in the United Kingdom, together with Duncan Ewin and Prof. Mark Wilcox, also from the University of Leeds, U.K., performed this current study.
The researchers enlisted just four volunteers who work in a hospital. The individuals simulated contamination of their hands using a preparation of bacteriophages– viruses that infect bacteria. Each person then dried their hands using either paper towels or a jet clothes dryer in a public toilet in the medical facility.
Later on, the scientists gathered samples from 11 public and ward areas, including stair hand rails, doors, lift buttons, chairs, phones, stethoscopes, and buttons on access intercoms. This would help the group understand whether the participants had actually spread out contamination into the healthcare facility.
Each of the individuals used an apron throughout the drying procedure so that the researchers might determine the contamination of clothes and how it might infect surfaces.
The authors explain that both methods of hand drying “substantially minimized phage contamination of hands.” Nevertheless, after using the jet clothes dryer, there was ecological contamination on all 11 surface areas. The authors describe:
” All surfaces sampled following [jet dryer] usage showed phage contamination, compared to six surfaces after [paper towel] use.”
In reality, typical surface area contamination following hand contact was 10 times greater after jet clothes dryer than hand towel usage.
Likewise, contamination after contact with clothes just happened after making use of a jet clothes dryer. These findings– if bigger research studies verify them– are necessary, as the authors summary:
” As public toilets are used by patients, visitors, and personnel, the hand drying approach picked has the possible to increase or lower pathogen transmission in health center settings.”
Naturally, due to the fact that the study only hired four individuals, it can not make firm conclusions. It made no effort to randomize. Aside from these factors, there are other significant issues with the research study.
Dr. Graham Wheeler, a medical statistician at University College in London in the U.K., explains:
” In this study, all 4 volunteers were asked not to clean their hands after contamination, to ‘imitate bad hand cleaning practices.’ However the number of individuals dry their hands without having cleaned them first?”
Dr. Wheeler continues: “The authors’ conclusions that people ought to utilize paper towels after washing their hands can’t be made from this study since that’s not what the investigators tested; they looked at which drying approach reduced cross-contamination from unwashed hands.”
With that said, the current findings broadly concur with an older evaluation from 2012, which examined how well these hand drying methods get rid of bacteria. The authors of the paper looked at 12 studies and concluded:
“[M] ost studies recommend that paper towels can dry hands effectively, eliminate germs effectively, and cause less contamination of the restroom environment. From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electrical air dryers. Paper towels should be advised in areas where health is critical, such as health centers and clinics.”
In a news release, the authors of the most recent hand drying research study echo this belief:
” Our company believe that our outcomes are relevant to the control of the novel coronavirus that is spreading out at rate worldwide. Paper towels must be the favored method to dry hands after washing therefore lower the risk of infection contamination and spread.”
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