Shorter hand sanitiser use may be more effective

22nd of January 2018
Shorter hand sanitiser use may be more effective

Using alcohol hand rubs for just half the time recommended by WHO could result in better outcomes, according to European research.

The current WHO recommendation for healthcare staff is to use hand sanitisers for between 20 and 30 seconds. However, clinicians often complain that this period is impractically long for frequent daily use.

Researchers at the University Hospital of Greifswald in Germany decided to study the effects of reducing the amount of time spent using an alcohol-based hand rub from 30 seconds to just 15 seconds.

After testing 10 commercially-available hand sanitisers they discovered that each of them provided equal or higher efficacy when used for 15 seconds compared with the 30 second period. And antimicrobial results were similar in both cases.

"Basically the statement of our study was that the efficacy in reducing bacterial load was not significantly different when performing hand antisepsis for 15 seconds or 30 seconds," said researcher Romana Klasinc from the Medical University of Vienna's Department for Infection Control.

Researchers also discovered that when hand sanitising required less time, clinicians were more likely to use hand rubs since the practice became more convenient.

"These results indicate that shortening the application time for hand antisepsis significantly increased the frequency of hand antisepsis actions," said the authors.


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