December 22, 2014

Hand Washing: Good, Better, Best

In the Infection Control class we just took, health care workers were divided into groups and a special light illuminated their hands to reveal dirt and bacteria.

Then each group was instructed to wash their hands in a different manner:
  1. Rinse them off and dry them 
  2. Wash with soap and water and use a blower to dry them
  3. Wash with soap and water and use paper towels to dry
  4. Clean them with an antibacterial hand gel
The hands were illuminated again.  Which group got the cleanest?
  • #1, just rinsing, was the worst
  • #4, the antibacterial gel, was not much better, because it did not remove the dirt, just cleaned the surface of what was there
  • #2, soap and water with a blow dryer, was reasonable effective
  • #3, soap and water and paper towel dry, was the most effective, because after the detergent action of the soap there was the additional benefit of the friction of the paper towels
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc.,
Diplomat, American Board of Prosthodontics
5060 California Ave., #170
Bakersfield, CA 93309
(661) 325-1275

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