Hand Hygiene, Truths, Myths and Misinformation


There are many misconceptions about hand hygiene on the Internet. Hopefully, this information will help clear up some of those misconceptions.Washing your hands with soap and water will kill germs.

Truth or misinformation?

Misinformation

1. Plain soaps have minimal if any antimicrobial activity.
2. In several studies, hand washing with plain soap failed to remove bad microorganisms (pathogens) from the hands of hospital personnel.
3. Hand washing with plain soap can result in an increase in bacterial counts on the skin.
4. Occasionally, contaminated plain soaps have colonized hands with Gram-negative bacteria.

Reference: http: www.learnwell.org//handhygiene.htm

Killing germs on your hands decreases your immunity.

Truth or Myth?

Myth

1. The skin on your body is covered with microorganisms.
2. Our environment is contaminated with microorganisms.
3. You cannot kill all of the microorganisms on your hands.
4. Your large intestine contains large numbers of microorganisms.
5. All of the sources listed above stimulate your immune response.
6. Health Care Workers CDC guidelines call for alcohol rubs to be used 60 or more times a day between patients and after touching contaminated surfaces.
7. Killing germs on your hands will not decrease your immunity but it will help prevent infections.

Reference: http: www.learnwell.org/handhygiene.htm

Hand sanitizers do not kill germs.

Truth or misinformation?

Misinformation

1. Hand sanitizers containing a minimum of 60 to 95% alcohol are very efficient germ killers.
2. Alcohol rub sanitizers kill bacteria, multi-drug resistant bacteria (MRSA and VRE) tuberculosis, virus, including HIV, herpes, RSV, rhinovirus, vaccinia, influenza, hepatitis, and fungus.
3. Alcohol rub sanitizers kill 3.5 log(10) (99.9%) of the bacteria on hands 30 seconds after application and 4 to 5 log(10) (99.99 to 99.999%) of the bacteria on hands 1 minute after application.
4. Alcohol rub sanitizers can prevent the transfer of health-care associated pathogens (Gram negative bacteria) better than soap and water.
5. Alcohol rub sanitizers are not appropriate for use when your hands are visibly dirty or contaminated with blood. Use soap and water.

Reference: www.learnwell.org/handhygiene.htm

Don’t kill the good germs. They protect our hands from the bad germs.

Truth or Myth?

Myth

1. Good germs are microorganisms normally found on human skin and bad germs are pathogenic (disease producing) microorganisms.
2. The numbers of good germs and bad germs on the hands are variable from one person to the next but remains relatively constant for each individual.
3. Good germs cannot protect you against bad germs. Anyone can become contaminated with bad germs (pathogens).
4. Bad germs (pathogens) do not always cause infections and good germs in the wrong place can cause infections.

References www.learnwell.org/handhygiene.htm Schaberg DR, Culver DH, Gaynes RP. Major trends in the microbial etiology of nosocomial infection. Am J Med 1991;91(suppl 3B):72S-75S. Richet P, Hubert B, Nitemberg G, et al. Prospective multi-center study of vascular-catheter-related complications and risk factors for positive central-catheter cultures in intensive care unit patients. J Clin Microbiol 1990;28:2520-2525.

Alcohol dries your hands.

Truth or misinformation?

Truth

1. Frequent use of alcohol-based formulations for hand antisepsis can cause dry skin unless emollients and/or skin moisturizers are added to the formula.
2. The drying effect of alcohol can be reduced or eliminated by adding glycerin and/or other emollients to the formula.
3. In several prospective clinical trials, alcohol based hand sanitizers containing emollients caused substantially less skin irritation and dryness than soaps or antimicrobial detergents.
4. Allergic contact dermatitis or contact urticaria syndrome or hypersensitivity to alcohol or additives present in alcohol hand rubs rarely occurs.

Reference: www.learnwell.org/handhygiene.htm

Alcohol rubs cause (bacterial) mutation and resistance.

Truth or Myth?

Myth

1. Dead microorganisms don’t mutate. Alcohol rubs (biocides) kill microorganisms.
2. Current scientific evidence has not shown a link exists between the use of topical antimicrobial formulations and antiseptic or antibiotic resistance.
3. Antiseptics (biocides) have multiple (thousands) of nonspecific killing sites on and in the microbial cell which cannot easily mutate.
4. Antibiotics and antibacterial soaps (triclosan) have one very specific killing site on and in the microbial cell which can easily mutate.
5. Antibiotic resistance has no affect on the effectiveness of (biocides) antiseptics.

References: Jones R.D. Bacterial resistance and topical antimicrobial wash products. Am. J. Infect. 1999 Aug: 27(4):351-63. Barry A.L., Fuchs, P.C., Brown, S.D. Lack of Effect of Antibiotic Resistance on Susceptibility of Microorganisms to Chlorhexidine gluconate and Povidone iodine. Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Inf. Dis. 1999, 18: 920-921.

Alcohol rubs and Germ Out® kill germs better than soap and water.

Truth or misinformation?

Truth

1. Use Germ Out® or alcohol rubs to kill germs on your hands.

2. Use soap and water on visibly dirty or soiled hands.

Reference: www.learnwell.org/handhygiene.htm

For more information on hand hygiene visit www.germout.com


81 Responses to Hand Hygiene, Truths, Myths and Misinformation

  1. somugroup1 January 8, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    Somu group of companies are manufacturers of speciality fine chemicals, pharmacy intermediates, agrochemical intermediates.

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