Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Hand sanitizer cannot trump handwashing

August 11, 2011

OTTAWA — Evidence continues to point to the superiority of handwashing over using alcohol-based hand sanitizers, according to The Gazette.

A study, the results of which were released earlier this year at a meeting of the American College of Preventative Medicine, showed that long-term care facilities had increased instances of norovirus outbreaks when staff was reliant on hand sanitizers, the article stated.

According to the article, among facilities that turned primarily to sanitizers for routine cleaning and during outbreaks, at least three had multiple cases of confirmed norovirus outbreaks.

"Hand sanitizer is promoted so widely because it''s efficient, accessible and takes relatively very little time to use," sad Kate Ellingson, an epidemiologist with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"There''s potentially a large trade-off in switching back to soap and water in the health care setting, where workers have to wash their hands many, many times per shift, or even hour, depending on what they''re doing," Ellingson added.

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