Does Washing Hands Really Stop Spread of Diseases
Published : 2010-09-07 - Updated : 2020-03-21
Author : Wiley-Blackwell - Contact: onlinelibrary.wiley.com
🛈 Synopsis : Study looks at methods of hand drying, including paper towels and hand dryers, and the effect on transfer of bacteria from the hands to other surfaces. Volunteers were asked to wash their hands and place them onto contact plates which were then incubated to measure bacterial growth. The most hygienic method of drying hands is using paper towels or using a hand dryer which doesn't require rubbing your hands together.
A study by researchers at the University of Bradford and published today in the Journal of Applied Microbiology looked at different methods of drying the hands following hand washing, and their effect on transfer of bacteria from the hands to other surfaces. The different methods included paper towels, traditional hand dryers, which rely on evaporation, and a new model of hand dryer, which rapidly strips water off the hands using high velocity air jets.
Frequently people give up drying their hands and wipe them on their clothes instead, but hand-hygiene is a key part of infection control and drying hands after washing is a very important part of the process.
Our bodies naturally have bacteria called commensals all over them.
However, bacteria from other sources, such as raw meat, can also survive on hands, and can be easily transferred to other surfaces, increasing the risk of cross-contamination.
When hands are washed the number of bacteria on the surface of the skin decreases, but they are not necessarily eliminated.
If the hands are still damp then these bacteria are more readily transferred to other surfaces.
In this study the researchers quantified the effects of hand drying by measuring the number of bacteria on different parts of the hands before and after different drying methods.
Volunteers were asked to wash their hands and place them onto contact plates which were then incubated to measure bacterial growth.
The volunteers were then asked to dry their hands using either hand towels or one of three hand dryers, with or without rubbing their hands together, and levels of bacteria were re-measured.
Dr Snelling and her team found that rubbing the hands together whilst using traditional hand dryers could counteract the reduction in bacterial numbers following hand-washing.
Furthermore, they found that the relative reduction in the number of bacteria was the same, regardless of the hand dryer used, when hands are kept still.
When hands are rubbed together during drying, bacteria that live within the skin can be brought to the surface and transferred to other surfaces, along with surface bacteria that were not removed by hand-washing.
The researchers found the most effective way of keeping bacterial counts low, when drying hands, was using paper towels.
Amongst the electric dryers, the model that rapidly stripped the moisture off the hands was best for reducing transfer of bacteria to other surfaces.
Dr Snelling says:
"Good hand hygiene should include drying hands thoroughly and not just washing. The most hygienic method of drying hands is using paper towels or using a hand dryer which doesn't require rubbing your hands together."
Source/Reference: Wiley-Blackwell (onlinelibrary.wiley.com). Disabled World makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.
Related Dermatology Documents
- 1: Tips to Cure a Yeast Infection : Information regarding mouth, rectum and vagina yeast infections including home remedies and relief to help treat persistent Candidiasis.
- 2: Candidiasis Fungal Infection Must be Treated Early : New guidelines underscore importance of consulting infectious diseases specialist to identify candidiasis quickly and recommend shift from fluconazole to echinocandins for the initial treatment of invasive infections.
- 3: Dermatitis Herpetiformis : Symptoms, Signs and Treatment : Dermatitis herpetiformis is usually extremely itchy. The bumps or blisters usually appear on the elbows, knees, back, and buttocks.
- 4: Does Washing Hands Really Stop Spread of Diseases : Study looks at methods of hand drying, including paper towels and hand dryers, and the effect on transfer of bacteria from the hands to other surfaces.
- 5: Hospital Hand Washing Leads to Rise in Dermatitis : Incidence of dermatitis increased in health care workers following hand hygiene drive to reduce infections such as MRSA.
You're reading Disabled World. Be sure to check out our homepage for further informative disability news, reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can also follow Disabled World on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
Disclaimer: Disabled World provides general information only. Materials presented are in no way meant to be a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Any 3rd party offering or advertising on disabled-world.com does not constitute endorsement by Disabled World. View our Advertising Policy for further information. Please report outdated or inaccurate information to us.
Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Wiley-Blackwell. Electronic Publication Date: 2010-09-07 - Revised: 2020-03-21. Title: Does Washing Hands Really Stop Spread of Diseases, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/health/dermatology/hands-washing.php>Does Washing Hands Really Stop Spread of Diseases</a>. Retrieved 2021-04-12, from https://www.disabled-world.com/health/dermatology/hands-washing.php - Reference: DW#124-5241.