Hands, whether gloved or ungloved, are one of the main methods for spreading infection or for transferring microbial contamination. The usage of hand disinfectants is area of the process of good contamination control for personnel employed in hospital environments, or those associated with aseptic processing and within cleanrooms. Although there are numerous various kinds of hand sanitizers available you will find differences with their effectiveness and several do not meet with the European standard for hand sanitization.
Personnel employed in hospitals and cleanrooms carry various kinds of microorganisms on the hands and such microorganisms can be readily transferred from individual to individual or from person to equipment or critical surfaces. Such microorganisms are either present on skin not multiplying (transient flora, that may include a selection of environmental microorganisms like Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas) or are multiplying microorganisms released from skin (residential flora like the genera of Staphylococcus, Micrococcus and Propionibacterium). Of the 2 groups, residential flora tend to be more difficult to remove. For critical operations, some protection is afforded by wearing gloves. However gloves are not ideal for all activities and gloves, if not regularly sanitized or if they’re of an unsuitable design, will grab and transfer contamination.
Therefore, the sanitization of hands (either gloved or ungloved) is an important section of contamination control either in hospitals, in order to avoid staff-to-patient cross contamination or ahead of undertaking clinical or surgical procedures; and for aseptic preparations just like the dispensing of medicines 70% Alcohol. Moreover, not only is the usage of a hand sanitizer needed ahead of undertaking such applications, it can be critical that the sanitizer is effective at eliminating a high population of bacteria. Studies demonstrate that when a low number of microorganisms persist after the applying of a sanitizer then a subpopulation can develop which is resistant to future applications.
There are many commercially available hand sanitisers most abundant in commonly used types being alcohol-based liquids or gels. Much like other types of disinfectants, hand sanitizers are effective against different microorganisms based upon their mode of activity. With common alcohol based hand sanitizers, the mode of action leads to bacterial cell death through cytoplasm leakage, denaturation of protein and eventual cell lysis (alcohols are one of the so-called’membrane disrupters’). The features of employing alcohols as hand sanitizers incorporate a relatively inexpensive, little odour and a fast evaporation (limited residual activity results in shorter contact times). Furthermore alcohols have a proven cleansing action.
In selecting a hand sanitiser the pharmaceutical organisation or hospital will have to consider if the applying is to be made to human skin or even to gloved hands, or even to both, and if it’s required to be sporicidal. Hand sanitisers belong to two groups: alcohol based, which tend to be more common, and non-alcohol based. Such considerations impact both upon cost and the health and safety of the staff using the hand sanitiser since many commonly available alcohol based sanitisers can cause excessive drying of skin; and some non-alcohol based sanitisers can be irritating to the skin. Alcohol hand sanitizers are created to avoid irritation through possessing hypoallergenic properties (colour and fragrance free) and ingredients which afford skin protection and care through re-fatting agents.
Alcohols have an extended history of use as disinfectants because of inherent antiseptic properties against bacteria and some viruses. To be effective some water is required to be blended with alcohol to exert effect against microorganisms, with the most effective range falling between 60 and 95% (most commercial hand sanitizers are around 70%). The most commonly used alcohol based hand sanitisers are Isopropyl alcohol or some kind of denatured ethanol (such as Industrial Methylated Spirits). The more common non-alcohol based sanitisers contain either chlorhexidine or hexachlorophene. Additives may also be contained in hand sanitizers to be able to raise the antimicrobial properties.
Before entering a hospital ward or clean area hands should be washed using soap and water for approximately twenty seconds. Handwashing removes around 99% of transient microorgansisms (although it doesn’t kill them) (4). From then on, whether gloves are worn or not, regular hygienic hand disinfection should take place to eliminate any subsequent transient flora and to cut back the danger of the contamination arising from resident skin flora.
The technique of hand sanitisation is of great importance while the effectiveness is not only with the alcohol but additionally relates to the’rub-in’technique. Like:
-Dispense a tiny amount of hand gel onto the palm of one hand by
-pressing down on the pump dispenser
-Put hands together and check out rub the hand gel into both hands. Pay particular awareness of these areas:
-Back of hands
-Between webs of fingers
-Allow hands to dry, this should take no more than 60 seconds
Regular applications of the hand sanitizer are expected and also ahead of carrying out critical activities. The reason being alcohols are relatively volatile and do not give a continual antimicrobial action. Although microorgansisms are removed from material like latex more readily than from skin, a regular frequency of hand sanitization should still be placed on gloves.
You can find very few safety concerns with hand sanitizers and the occupational exposure is relatively low, although this may build up in enclosed spaces. Care should be taken when using sanitizers near naked flames (which can occur where gas burners are used in laboratories).
In conclusion, hand sanitisation is an important process of staff to follow in healthcare and pharmaceutical settings. Hand sanitization is one of the main methods for preventing the spread of infection in hospitals and contamination within pharmaceutical operations. This required level of control requires the usage of a successful hand sanitizer.