Hand drying and hygiene

Huang et al., write in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings,

The transmission of bacteria is more likely to occur from wet skin than from dry skin; therefore, the proper drying of
hands after washing should be an integral part of the hand hygiene process in health care. This article systematically
reviews the research on the hygienic efficacy of different hand-drying methods. A literature search was conducted in
April 2011 using the electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science. Search terms used were hand dryer and hand drying. The search was limited to articles published in English from January 1970 through March 2011. Twelve studies were included in the review. Hand-drying effectiveness includes the speed of drying, degree of dryness, effective removal of bacteria, and prevention of cross-contamination. This review found little agreement regarding the relative effectiveness of electric air dryers. However, most studies suggest that paper towels can dry hands efficiently, remove bacteria effectively, and cause less contamination of the washroom environment. From a hygiene viewpoint, paper towels are superior to electric air dryers. Paper towels should be recommended in locations where hygiene is paramount, such as hospitals and clinics. Read more…



Source; The New Yorker

ANNALS OF HEALTH about the hand sanitizer Purell. In 1988, a family-owned hand-soap company in Ohio invented an alcohol-based hand cleaner, which was meant to be used by health-care workers when soap and water were unavailable. The product took a year and a half to develop. It was a clear gel that contained emollients to protect skin, and it was visually appealing because the machinery that squirted it into bottles left bubbles suspended in it. Still, Gojo Industries, the hand-soap company, lost money on it for more than a decade. “It opened a lot of doors for us, and we sold more soap because of it,” Joe Kanfer, the C.E.O., said. “But, actually, nobody bought it. The salesman would squirt some into a customer’s hands, and then they’d talk and they’d talk and they’d talk, but people couldn’t get their minds around it. They didn’t know what it was for.” Kanfer liked it, though—he kept a bottle on his desk and for years made it twenty-five per cent of his salesmen’s annual sales targets. “That drove the sales guys crazy,” he said. “They couldn’t sell the stuff.” The product was called Purell. Today, you see it everywhere. What was once barely even a product is now a growing product category, worth hundreds of millions annually. Purell is the U.S. sales leader, though at the retail level it now receives significant competition from Germ-X and others. Tells the story of Gojo Industries. The name comes from the first names of Goldie and Jerry Lippman, a married couple, who founded the company in Akron, in 1946. Jerry developed a waterless hand cleaner, and named it Gojo. He and Goldie mixed the first batches in the washing machine in the basement of Goldie’s parents’ house—they were living in the attic—and packaged the finished product in pickle jars that Jerry salvaged from area restaurants. Gojo is still a staple among people who work with oil, engine grease, and other hard-to-remove substances. Describes early attempts to market Purell. Gojo got its first big customer for Purell when the Wegmans supermarket chain, based in New York State, decided to make Purell available to customers and employees in its stores, and Kanfer dispatched teams to install dispensers. Describes how Purell caught on with health-care professionals. Writer visits Gojo’s headquarters, where he tries new products and is evaluated on his hand-washing technique. Discusses the effectiveness of Purell. Describes a special Purell container designed by Gojo for the U.S. Army. Explains how Gojo is developing products which use electronics to track hand-washing in hospitals. Read more (subscription required)


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