A study published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information shows that the transmission of bacteria is more likely to occur from wet skin than from dry skin.
The researchers say proper drying of hands after washing should be an integral part of the hand hygiene process in health care.
Speaking in the same vein, a public health physician and Director, Policy and Advocacy at the Nigeria Health Watch, Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor, says germs spread more easily on wet surfaces than on dry ones.
The study, led by Cunrui Huang, noted that hand-drying effectiveness includes the speed of drying, degree of dryness, effective removal of bacteria, and prevention of cross-contamination.
“This review found little agreement regarding the relative effectiveness of electric air dryers.
“However, most studies suggest that paper towels can dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively, and cause less contamination of the washroom environment.
“From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electric air dryers. Paper towels should be recommended in locations where hygiene is paramount, such as hospitals and clinics.”
The researchers said the proper drying of hands should be an essential component of effective hand hygiene procedures.
“Coates et al reported that washing hands with either soap and water or water alone combined with drying on paper towels can effectively remove bacteria from the hands. However, if hands are only shaken dry after washing, some bacteria are likely to remain,” the experts said.
The researchers added that the transmission of bacteria was more likely to occur from wet hands than from dry hands.
They added that the principles of hand hygiene are universal and they do not change because of sex, skin color, or hand size.
The authors said drying hands thoroughly with single-use, disposable paper towels are the preferred methods of hand drying in terms of hand hygiene.
“Hand hygiene has the potential to prevent diseases and reduce healthcare-associated infections.
“The proper drying of hands after washing should be an essential component of effective hand hygiene procedures. Most studies have found that paper towels can dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively, and cause less contamination of the washroom environment.
“From a hygiene standpoint, paper towels are superior to air dryers; therefore, paper towels should be recommended for use in locations in which hygiene is paramount, such as hospitals and clinics.
“The provision of paper towels should also be considered as a means of improving hand hygiene adherence among health care workers.
“Our findings may have implications for health professionals and medical educators aiming to design effective programs to promote hand hygiene practices,” they submitted.
Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWise, Dr. Nsofor said to eliminate all traces of growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, it is essential to keep all surfaces, including the hands, clean and dry.
“Wet mediums enable easy growth of microorganisms such as bacteria, than other mediums. Water, which causes the wetness, is needed for growth and can also trap other substances that could serve as nutrients to microorganisms.
“It is advisable to keep surfaces clean and dry,” he said.
The post Washing hands not enough to kill bacteria -Experts appeared first on Healthwise.