Proper Hand Drying Vital in War Against Germs8 years, 6 months ago
Posted on Sep 21, 2010, 6 a.m.
Drying hands properly is vital in order to prevent the spread of bacteria.
New research suggests that hand drying technique could be as important as hand washing technique. Researchers at the University of Bradford in the UK investigated different methods of hand drying and their effect on transfer of bacteria from the hands to other surfaces. The methods investigated were paper towels, traditional hand dryers, which dry hands by evaporation, and a new type of hand dryer, which uses high velocity air to strip water off the hands. Volunteers were asked to wash their hands and place them onto contact plates which were then incubated to measure bacterial growth. The volunteers were then asked to dry their hands using either hand towels or one of three hand dryers, with or without rubbing their hands together, and levels of bacteria were re-measured. Results showed that rubbing the hands together while drying the hands could counteract the benefits of hand washing as bacteria present within the skin can be brought to the surface and then transferred to other surfaces, along with surface bacteria that were not removed by washing the hands. The most efficacious method at keeping bacterial counts low was paper towels. Study leader Dr Snelling concluded: "Good hand hygiene should include drying hands thoroughly and not just washing. The most hygienic method of drying hands is using paper towels or using a hand dryer which doesn't require rubbing your hands together."
Snelling AM, Saville T, Stevens D, Beggs CB. Comparative evaluation of the hygienic efficacy of an ultra-rapid hand dryer vs conventional warm air hand dryers. Journal of Applied Microbiology. Article first published online: 7 SEP 2010. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2010.04838.x