National center for infection control professionals, healthcare experts, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and consumers focused on best practices in hand hygiene and hand sanitizer products

Friday, November 21, 2008

Round of Applause To Proactive School Nurses Re: Hand Hygiene Initiative

Nice round of applause to the head nurses at each of the following school districts that paid close attention when the manufacturer of Soapopular alcohol free hand free hand sanitizer responded to a nurse's message on a school nurse chat site seeking free hygiene products:

Thanks to Mary Ferone, RN of Plainfield IL, and in less than four hours, the folks at MGS Brands, the US Distributor of Soapopular extended their hands to the head nurses at 7 major school districts, and facilitated the delivery of Soapopular product to more than 2500 elementary and high school students and teaching staff at schools in Barrington IL; Carlinville, IL; Warren, NJ; Waterville,ME; Lafayette,IN; West Milton, OH, and Mission, TX.

Nice job nurses!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shopping Carts & Hand Hygiene: An Innovative Approach

We're happy to extend a hats off to Wisconsin-based PureCarts Inc., a company that has developed a mini, car wash-like device for shopping carts, a vehicle that is long known for transporting not only grocery items and little tikes while shopping in the supermarket, but for carrying any number of germs, bacteria and viruses.

The 'drive-thru' devices are somewhat outsized, and not inexpensive for grocery stores or big box retailers to lease, but its reasonable to suggest that the indirect cost savings to store operators, their employees, and their guests should more than offset the annual cost of each device.

The disinfect formula used to spray down the carts is a derivative of hydrogen peroxide, and otherwise a compelling food-safe formula that disinfects surfaces, and is residue free before a shopper hands would come in contact with the shopping cart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Fight Against Clostridium Difficile: New Drug Shows Promise

San Diego-based Optimer Pharmaceuticals says that that its newly developed antiobiotic is showing significant promise as a weapon in the war against the notorious superbug, Clostridium Difficile a/k/a C.difficile, a/k/a C.diff.

The superbug, which leads to septic shock in close to 10% of those that acquire the virus, overshadows MRSA as being one of the most prevalent hospital-acquired viruses, and health care experts have estimated that attacking C.diff costs more than $1 billion a year in the US alone.

Although clinical trials can extend for months, if not years, we clap our hands in support of efforts to quash C.diff, and in the interim, we continue to support all efforts that promote proper hand hygiene as the most effective way to stem the transmission of easily-acquired bacteria and viruses.

Washing with non-antimicrobial soap is the first line of defense, and if washing with soap and water isn't readily available, be smart about the hand sanitizer product that you use. Alcohol-free, rinse free hand sanitizer products; those that contain the organic compound benzalkonium chloride, are being widely embraced by infection control experts as the most pragmatic alternative to alcohol-based gels, which are being eschewed by those that finally understand the negative 'features' of legacy alcohol based products--they destroy protective skin cells, cause dry/irritated skin, and in turn exposing users to increased risk of acquiring the same bacteria and viruses that the products are supposedly protecting against.

And yes, alcohol-based gels kill germs-presuming you've washed your hands of dirt prior to applying--and while killing germs, the alcohol gel will also kill industrial floor wax, paint, materials, and just about anything else that you apply it to..Great product for stripping paint...but not for putting into your hands...Do the research..we've profiled at least several alcohol-free, rinse free, fragrance and dye free products in this column!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Women's Hands Home to More Types of Germs

Based on a just released study from the University of Colorado, which found women's hands have a veritable United Nations of germs compared to men's, it comes as no surprise that women represent 75% of the close to $100 million in US hand sanitizer product sales.

But more interesting: both genders house vastly more bacteria on their palms than previously suspected, according to the study which appears in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

On average, each hand studied was home to about 150 different species of bacteria. Overall, more than 4,700 bacterial species were identified on all hands, only five of which were common among all volunteers.

Of perhaps the most interesting finding: In general, hand washing did not seem to affect the diversity of bacteria (though it's still a good practice, the researchers stressed). Either the bacteria come back quickly after hand washing (at least the kind of hand washing practiced by these volunteers) or hand washing just doesn't dislodge bacteria, they said.

Another good reason to research hand sanitizer products, and to understand the distinctions between the flammable gels formulated with alcohol, vs those with organic compounds that are intended to protect skin cells, while providing extended persistency in the course of defending against germs and bacteria.