Nurses’ perceptions of the benefits and adverse effects of hand disinfection: alcohol-based hand rubs vs. hygienic handwashing: a multicentre questionnaire study with additional patch testing by the German Contact Dermatitis Research Group.Excerpts from the study are below; what a shame that none of these nurses seem to be aware there are alcohol-free, rinse free hand sanitizers...
ADI= Alcohol Disinfection; HW= Hand Washing
The majority (PS 60.1%; MC 69.5%) of nurses considered ADI to be more damaging than HW. Mostly, ADI and HW were suspected to have irritant effects (ADI 79.2%/52.1%; HW 65.5%/36.2%) compared with an allergenic potential (ADI 10.4%/5.8%; HW 7.8%/3.9%). The prevalence of hand dermatitis in the MC was 13.4% by self-diagnosis and 22.4% by symptom-based questions. In 50 tested individuals no sensitization and only two irritant reactions to alcohols and three single-positive reactions to ABHRs were observed, none of the latter related to alcohols. Conclusions Although ADI is known to cause less skin irritation than HW, nurses perceive ADI as more damaging, resulting in: (i) a low compliance with ADI and (ii) a higher prevalence of hand dermatitis because the more deleterious HW is preferred. This may result in an increase in occupational disease and nosocomial infections.
Alternative alcohol-free hand sanitizers that contain the organic compound benzalkonium chloride are hypoallergenic and antiseptic--and do not cause dermititis, nor do they destroy protective skin cells.