Hand hygiene is an important area of infection prevention in health care. Healthy hand skin is a vital part of staff hand hygiene.
Hand-washing dries the skin of the hands, which is why the current recommendation in health care is to disinfect hands with hand sanitiser whenever possible instead of washing hands with water. According to research, health care employees spend less than 10 seconds washing their hands. In less than 10 seconds, the amount of microbes on the hands is reduced by no more than half, and at worst it might even increase. The current recommendation is to only wash hands with water and washing liquid when hands are dirty or feel dirty. The rest of the time, hand hygiene is maintained with hand sanitisers.
According to research, rubbing an alcohol-based hand sanitiser onto the hands for 30 seconds can reduce the amount of microbes on skin to a tenth of a per cent. Effective hand disinfection requires the correct technique. Take 3 ml of hand sanitiser to ensure that it takes 30 seconds to rub the hands dry. 3 ml corresponds with two pumps of a pump bottle or two presses from a dispenser bag. If the hands are dry after 10–15 seconds of rubbing, there was not enough hand sanitiser.
In order for people to comply with hand hygiene recommendations, the hand sanitiser used must be high-quality and pleasant to use. Its alcohol content must be at least 70% by weight. Increasing the alcohol content to 73.5% by weight improves the product’s virucidal capacity. Good hand sanitiser must contain a suitable concentration of substances that condition the skin. This helps minimise the skin-drying properties of alcohol. A good hand sanitiser does not feel sticky or gritty even after several applications.
If hand sanitiser stings, it is a sign of broken skin. In such situations, you need to continue using hand sanitiser and reduce hand-washing even further. This helps the skin heal.
When protective gloves are used, hands must be disinfected before putting on gloves and after removing them.
Kiilto has been developing and manufacturing hand sanitisers for decades. Over the years, hygiene practices and recommendations have changed a lot – but the purpose stays the same. The use of hand sanitiser has been aimed at preventing the transmission of pathogens and promoting a good level of hygiene.