We had a series of cases last year, regarding infection and handwashing. The argument was – “we couldn’t have spread the infection to the patients, we use anti-bacteria hand sanitizer after every patient contact.” My response was – “yah – right.”
Well, this morning, my response can be “So what?”
Hand gels alone may not curb infections, By TIMBERLY ROSS Associated Press Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Doctors and nurses on the go often skip soap and water in favor of an alcohol-based hand gel, thinking the quick-acting goo will kill bacteria on their hands and curb the spread of infection. It turns out that’s not enough.
In a Nebraska hospital, medical workers nearly doubled their use of the alcohol-based gel, but their generally cleaner hands had no bearing on the rate of infections among patients.
The doctor who studied the problem pointed to many villains: Rings and fingernails that are too long and hard to clean, poor handling of catheters and treatment areas that aren’t sanitized.
“Hand hygiene is still important, but it’s not a panacea,” said Dr. Mark Rupp, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He led the study at the adjoining Nebraska Medical Center.
The results of his study appear to contradict hospital guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that say better hand hygiene – through frequent washing or use of hand gels – has been shown to cut the spread of hospital infections.
The spread of infection-causing germs in U.S. hospitals is a huge health problem, accounting for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths each year, according to the CDC. These include drug-resistant staph, urinary tract infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia, among others.
The study appears in the January issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.
The findings of the new study were based on 300 hours of hand hygiene observations of nurses and doctors in two comparable intensive care units over a two-year period.
Good to know – by the way, doesn’t mean not to use the Gels – it just means, wash, clean, use the Gel, take off rings, etc!