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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Alcohol-Hand Sanitizer Dispensers Cited for Boston-area Shopping Mall Blaze in

Courtesy of Saugus, MA "The Daily Item". We couldn't make this kind of story up-click on the title link to the media publication. We invite readers to point out this story to airport operators that have installed alcohol-based hand sanitizer dispensers without even considering the fire risk. Duh--maybe someone should point this out to Homeland Security officials?? Nah..that would distract them from searching people's underwear!

By Chris Stevens / The Daily Item

SAUGUS, MA - Firefighters responded to what seemed to be a routine alarm at the Square One Mall Monday evening, but a fire in the food court proved to be a puzzler.

Fire Chief James Blanchard said firefighters arrived in the mall's second floor food court a little after 9 p.m. to find a hand sanitizer unit fully engulfed in flames.

"It had spread up the wall and set off the sprinklers," he said. "We're still looking into how that got started."

He said the automatic hand sanitizer unit is about twice the size of a paper towel dispenser and is located just outside the restroom area in the corner of the food court.

Blanchard said the fire concerns him for two reasons. First, the machine is battery operated and not wired, so he's left wondering how the fire actually started.

Blanchard is also wondering if the fire is an isolated incident. The mall is owned by Simon Malls and Blanchard said it's his understanding that the dispensers are in all of their malls. If the fire proves to have somehow been started by the dispenser, there could be a recall issue.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti Relief Effort; Hand Hygiene and Hand Sanitizers

There are literally thousands of Haiti-related relief solicitations for medical supplies, including hand sanitizer products. At first glance, the uninformed would be inspired to reach out and lend a hand accordingly. After all, introducing hand hygiene safety measures is part and parcel to mitigating the spread of illness.

What the vast majority fail to appreciate, including those that are soliciting those specific products, is that most hand sanitizer products are alcohol-based (Purell, GermX, etc), and the makers of those products specifically caution that alcohol-based hand sanitizers are ineffective when applying to hands that might be soiled or dirty. As a result, the manufacturers pointedly instruct to “wash hands before applying”. Don’t take my word for it; simply visit the manufacturer websites and review their “FAQ” section.

Equally important, it’s a scientific fact that alcohol-based hand sanitizers cause the skin to become dry and irritated; any infection control expert will acknowledge this is a “feature” that necessarily increases the risk of exposure to easily-transmitted pathogens(bacteria, virus, germs)

It would be truly amazing if you, or anyone else could find a single individual in Haiti right now whose hands are not dirty/soiled, or who have the luxury of being able to washing with soap and water prior to applying alcohol-based sanitizers.

Exactly why alcohol-free, rinse-free hand sanitizer products are endorsed by a continuously-growing number of health care and emergency care experts. The majority of these products are water-based, and most utilize the organic compound benzalkonium chloride—an FDA-recognized antiseptic that can be found in tens of dozens of consumer health care products.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Teens Abusing Nutmeg, Hand Sanitizer To Get High

More drug counselors and parents are finding their kids using unusual products to try to get high. Some are turning to spices like nutmeg and cloves, while others are huffing hand sanitizer.

We've pointed to these stories before; the El Paso, Texas FOX News affiliate is a bit slow on the coverage, but click on the title clink for a reminder.  We all know that teens are "huffing" hand sanitizer, but Nutmeg? Wow!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Hand sanitizers become popular item given to employees

Hand sanitizers become popular item given to employees, Advertising Specialty Institute says

By Michael Johnsen
TREVOSE, Pa. (Jan. 6) The Advertising Specialty Institute on Wednesday announced that hand sanitizers now rival pens as one of the most popular logoed items that companies are giving away to clients and employees.

New Year Could Bring A New Wave Of Swine Flu

— The new year has arrived with a reduced level of concern about the swine flu pandemic. The H1N1 virus has entered what health officials call a lull, as fewer new cases occur. But they also say this is an ideal time to increase vaccinations and immunity to try to stop another wave of infection.

The flu is a virus that comes in infectious waves which you try to anticipate and prepare for. Dr. Wilma Wooten is the San Diego County health officer. She said we've already seen two waves of the swine flu, one in April and another in October of last year. She said past flu pandemics tell us that a third wave may be on its way.
"If we go back historically to what happened with the 1918 pandemic influenza, the third wave did occur in Spring of the following year... about March," she said. "And it was much worse than the previous two waves."

Click on title link for the complete story