ECCMID19: Shortened 15 second application time could be effective for applying hand rub

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A shortened 15 second application time and a simpler three-step method for alcohol-based hand rub is as effective in reducing bacteria as the 30-second, six-step technique recommended by the WHO, according to research presented at the 29th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECCMID; 13–16 April, Amsterdam, the Netherlands).

Hand hygiene is an effective method to prevent the spread of infectious disease, however, there is little research on which technique is the most effective. The WHO currently recommends a six-step technique, however, adherence to all six steps is low and previous research has indicated that an application method with fewer steps could be superior in terms of compliance and reducing bacteria.

This randomized cross-over trial investigated combining the simpler three-step technique with a shorter application time of 15 seconds. A total of 20 healthy volunteers were randomized to rub their hands following four different techniques: six-step technique for 30 seconds, six-step technique for 15 seconds, three-step technique for 30 second or three-step technique for 15 seconds.

Results suggested that a shorter application time of 15 seconds was as effective at reducing bacterial counts on the hands of participants as a 30 second hand rub, irrespective of hand hygiene technique. 

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