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Rubs vs. Scrubs - Study of compatibility of hand disinfectants

Sabine Behrends, Andrea Rodewald

It is an inevitable part of the work of medical personnel that they are presenting a high risk in terms of transferring microorganisms from one patient to another.

Direct contact between staff and patients cannot be avoided in everyday routine, and the surface structure of the skin provides plenty of adherence opportunities for organisms.

Global Studies
These factors are demonstrated by a number of studies across the world, which indicate that around 5-12% of hospital patients contract an infection - with more that a half of these being avoidable. The incidents with intensive care units are even higher - up to 25%.

So what can be done to help suppress the opportunities for cross-contamination? It makes sense that high levels of hygiene need to be maintained at all times - but ensuring the optimum products and facilities are provided will be a case of ensuring that staff's own needs are met.

Hand disinfecting Methode
We undertook our own research to look at the various factors relating to the preferred method of hand washing by medical staff - with an objective of comparing the skin - compatibility of conventional hand washing with antiseptic soap versus a new alcohol-based hand rub.

A total of 19 volunteers aged between 20 and 65 and with healthy skin participated in the survey. Of these, three were male and 16 female and they took part for three weeks on workdays only, using the test preparations five to seven times a day.

The preparations available for hand disinfecting can be divided into two groups - alcoholic rubs (Product A) and disinfectant hand washes -scrubs- (Product B)