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Nurs Times. 1994 Nov 23-29;90(47):33-5.

The significance of hand-drying in the prevention of infection.


The original research linking poor hand hygiene to the development of infection was conducted by Semmelweis over 100 years ago. His experiments have never been replicated in the hospital setting, but over the years powerful circumstantial evidence has accumulated to suggest that hands are the main vectors of micro-organisms in both hospital and community and that hand-washing is the key to infection prevention. Nevertheless, many aspects of hand-washing remain under-researched. The area that has received least attention is hand-drying, despite early suggestions that when a quick, perfunctory hand-wash is performed by busy nurses in the clinical situation, the mechanical action of drying contributes to the efficient removal of pathogens. This paper explores evidence to show that the use of paper towels is safer than hot air hand-dryers in busy wards.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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