Monday, March 9, the head of the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) Tedros Adan Gebreyesos said the pandemic threat of the new coronavirus is becoming real, as the virus has already entered 100 countries. Heads of some states impose 14-day quarantine for those who have recently returned from Italy, South Korea, and Iran. Previously, WHO experts published recommendations on what to do in order not to get CoVID-2019 sick, and precautionary measures include observing personal hygiene rules. So, washing your hands with soap and clean water is considered effective - a 2011 study showed that washing with soap significantly reduces the presence of germs (viruses and bacteria) on the hands. But thorough hand drying is often overlooked.
How to dry your hands?
If you thought it was right to dry your handseasy, forced to disappoint you. The fact is that the way you dry your hands is also important in the spread of pathogens. This primarily applies to hospital staff and surgical rooms of doctors. According to the authors of a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Infection Prevention, researchers examined the importance of drying hands and the effects of poorly dried hands on patients and healthcare providers. The results showed that hand dryers with hot air and fabric roll towels are a problematic way of drying hands - especially in a hospital.
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It should be noted that researchersconsidered mainly the effect of hand drying on bacteria, not viruses. But what they found is also relevant when considering the possible transmission and spread of coronavirus in hospitals and surgical departments, especially considering the WHO recommendations for frequent hand washing.
Disposable paper towels are the mosthygienic method of drying hands. In hospitals, it is not recommended to dry hands with warm air for hygienic reasons. Some types of hand dryers can increase the dispersion of particles and microorganisms in the air, polluting the environment. However, fabric roll towels can hardly be called completely safe, since they become a common towel when the roll comes to an end - and can be a source of transferring the pathogen to clean hands.
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A review of studies also showed that the mostsuitable methods for drying hands in a clinical setting - for example, in a hospital - are different from those recommended for public toilets. This is associated with a higher risk of infection and cross-infection in hospitals. Therefore, although it is important to wipe your hands correctly, wherever you are, paper towels are always the preferred option if you are in the hospital as a patient, visitor or employee.
As part of the review, scientists also reviewedUK government policy on hand drying and found that disposable paper towels are recognized as the fastest and most effective way to remove residual moisture, which can contribute to the transfer of microorganisms. This is useful to know, given current concerns about the spread of coronavirus. In this sense, the study serves as a timely reminder that proper and effective hand drying is an integral part of hygiene, whether you are in the hospital, in the operating room of a doctor or just in the office.