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Happy New Year to you! Being British, I daresay I’m expected to talk about the scary weather we’re experiencing in the UK, Continental Europe, US and Canada, aren’t I? (And was there really snow in Cairo just before Christmas)? However, it’s an article in ‘McKnights Long Term Care News & Assisted Living’, that’s really got me thinking today. It discusses the results of a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control, which, allegedly (as I haven’t seen it) shows that cleaning the hands prior to donning gloves is unnecessary.
Apparently, investigators conducted a prospective, randomised trial at the University of Maryland Hospital Intensive Care Unit, in which a group of 115 caregivers was divided into two, with one group using an alcohol-based cleanser before donning gloves and the other putting gloves on uncleansed hands. Testing the gloves’ fingertips and palms showed that “total bacterial colony counts did not differ between the two groups”, leading the researchers to conclude that eliminating the hand cleansing process prior to donning gloves could save the 30 seconds this normally takes, without increasing the incidence of nosocomial infections.
Perhaps I don't don my gloves the way others do, but I use one hand to put the glove onto the other hand and then poke between each finger to ensure that the glove is on properly. If I do this with a dirty hand, I'm transferring germs onto the glove I'm wearing. In then donning the other glove in a similar fashion, I'm transferring some of those germs onto the second glove, aren't I?
Years ago when I did my training as a cleaner, I was told that the only way to be really sure of not contaminating my hands is to wear two pairs of gloves while cleaning, as if only one pair is worn, the act of removing the second glove will transfer dirt/germs etc, onto the bare hand. Despite the extra expense this would add to each job it made perfect sense, which is why the results of the study mentioned here have me flummoxed.
What are your thoughts on this please?
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9th January 2014