Infectious Disease

What’s one of the simplest ways to clean your fingers?

December 16, 2020

3 min read

Source / information

Source:
Healio interview

Disclosure:
Schaffner reports that companies and trade associations involved in soaps, disinfectants, and hand washing, such as the American Cleaning Institute, Diversey, Ecolab, GOJO Industries, and Sloan Valve Co., have received research grants and / or travel or conference support.

ADD SUBJECT TO EMAIL ALARMS

Receive an email when new articles are published

Please enter your email address to receive an email when new articles are published . “data-action =” subscribe “> subscribe

We could not process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this problem, please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

Back to Healio

Health officials in the US and abroad have highlighted the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

A recent MMWR report found that hand hygiene practices improved in 2020, but less than 75% of Americans washed their hands at home and in restaurants after coughing, sneezing, or nasal blisters and before eating.

Healio Primary Care spoke with Donald W. Schaffner, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Extension Specialist in Food Science at Rutgers University to learn about the importance of hand washing and hand hygiene tips to patients.

Q: Can we quantify how much hand washing will reduce virus transmission?

A: Unfortunately, we don’t have the data to clearly quantify the difference hand washing makes in virus transmission.

What we know about the transmission of COVID-19 is that the main risk is being indoors with people who are exposed and shedding the virus. We know that people don’t have to be symptomatic to get rid of the virus. I think it is much more important to practice adequate physical distancing and the wearing of masks first. If you do this, you should think about washing your hands or using hand sanitizer.

Q: How long should people wash their hands and what evidence supports that length of time?

The standard recommendation is for a foam time of 15 to 20 seconds. This does not include time to wet the hand, add soap, or rinse hands after lathering. The time it takes to dry your hands after washing your hands also doesn’t count.

Unfortunately, the evidence is not particularly strong for this particular period. Based on an analysis of literature data I did a few years ago, the variation from study to study is far greater than the 15 versus 20 second variation.

My general advice is to wash your hands when they’re dirty and lather them long enough to make them look and feel clean.

Q: Which soaps are most effective against viruses?

A: Although some people on the Internet claim that soaps are just “Pops” viruses, there is little support for them in the scientific literature. What we do know is that soaps primarily remove microorganisms, including viruses, from your hands, so microbes on your hands are washed down the drain with the water. The bottom line is that no soaps are generally more effective than others at killing viruses. There is some evidence that antibacterial soaps are more effective against bacteria than simple soaps.

Q: Is the water temperature important?

A: Based on research we did with bacteria, we didn’t find any difference between 60 °, 80 °, or 100 ° F. The differences between individuals in studies like ours are generally quite large. Other studies on the influence of water temperature have shown similar results. My advice is to use a comfortable water temperature so you can be sure that you are washing your hands well.

Q: Overall, do people wash their hands properly?

A: While it is difficult to define what exactly a “correct” hand wash would be, we know that many people do not wash their hands with a lather time of at least 15 seconds. What we know from some research I was involved in recently that has not yet been published is that the more people try to wash their hands when they should, and the better they try, the more effective they are at reducing the spread of microorganisms in the kitchen.

Q: What is the best way to wash your hands and what is the easiest and clearest way to explain this method to patients?

A: My advice is to wet your hands, apply soap, lather for 15 or 20 seconds, rinse the soap off, and then dry your hands with a paper towel or clean towel.

We also know that people have difficulty understanding how long that time could be. Therefore, one often hears the recommendation to sing the ABC song or to sing Happy Birthday twice.

I would also like to add that using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a very effective alternative when you’re in a hurry or when you don’t have access to soap and water, or when your hands aren’t visibly dirty. We know that these alcohol-based hand sanitizers are very effective against many types of bacteria. They’re also very effective against the virus that causes COVID-19.

ADD SUBJECT TO EMAIL ALARMS

Receive an email when new articles are published

Please enter your email address to receive an email when new articles are published . “data-action =” subscribe “> subscribe

We could not process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this problem, please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

Back to Healio

COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Related Articles