Hands, whether gloved or ungloved, are one of many main methods for spreading infection and for transferring microbial contamination. The use of hand disinfectants is part of the procedure for good contamination control for personnel employed in hospital environments, or those involved in aseptic processing and within cleanrooms. Although there are lots of various kinds of hand sanitizers available there are differences making use of 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 their hands and such microorganisms may be readily transferred from person to person or from person to equipment or critical surfaces. Such microorganisms are either present on your skin not multiplying (transient flora, which could include a variety of environmental microorganisms like Staphylococcus and Pseudomonas) or are multiplying microorganisms released from your skin (residential flora including the genera of Staphylococcus, Micrococcus and Propionibacterium). Of the two groups, residential flora tend to be more difficult to remove. For critical operations, some protection is afforded by wearing gloves. However gloves are not suitable for all activities and gloves, if not regularly sanitized or if they are of an unsuitable design, will pick up and transfer contamination.
Therefore, the sanitization of hands (either gloved or ungloved) is an important element of contamination control either in hospitals, to avoid staff-to-patient cross contamination or just before undertaking clinical or surgical procedures; and for aseptic preparations just like the dispensing of medicines. Moreover, not just is the use of a hand sanitizer needed just before undertaking such applications, it can be critical that the sanitizer is effective at eliminating a higher population of bacteria. Hand Sanitiser Studies demonstrate that if a low quantity of microorganisms persist after the applying of a sanitizer then your subpopulation can develop that is resistant to future applications.
There are numerous commercially available hand sanitisers with the most 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 results in bacterial cell death through cytoplasm leakage, denaturation of protein and eventual cell lysis (alcohols are one of many so-called’membrane disrupters’). The benefits of employing alcohols as hand sanitizers add a relatively low priced, little odour and an instant evaporation (limited residual activity results in shorter contact times). Furthermore alcohols have an established cleansing action.
In selecting a hand sanitiser the pharmaceutical organisation or hospital should consider if the applying is usually to be designed to human skin or even to gloved hands, or even to both, and if it’s needed to be sporicidal. Hand sanitisers fall into 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 utilising the hand sanitiser because so many commonly available alcohol based sanitisers can cause excessive drying of your skin; and some non-alcohol based sanitisers may be irritating to the skin. Alcohol hand sanitizers are made 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 good use as disinfectants as a result of inherent antiseptic properties against bacteria and some viruses. To be effective some water is required to be mixed with alcohol to exert effect against microorganisms, with the utmost effective range falling between 60 and 95% (most commercial hand sanitizers are about 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 included in hand sanitizers to be able to boost 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 generally does not kill them) (4). There after, whether gloves are worn or not, regular hygienic hand disinfection should take place to eliminate any subsequent transient flora and to cut back the risk of the contamination arising from resident skin flora.
The technique of hand sanitisation is of great importance while the effectiveness is not just with the alcohol but also pertains to the’rub-in’technique. For example:
-Dispense a small amount of hand gel onto the palm of just one hand by
-pressing down on the pump dispenser
-Put hands together and proceed to rub the hand gel into both hands. Pay particular awareness of the next areas:
-Back of hands
-Between webs of fingers
-Allow hands to dry, this should take a maximum of 60 seconds
Regular applications of the hand sanitizer are expected and also just before carrying out critical activities. The reason being alcohols are relatively volatile and do not provide a continual antimicrobial action. Although microorgansisms are removed from material like latex more readily than from skin, a regular frequency of hand sanitization should nevertheless be applied to gloves.
You can find very few safety concerns with hand sanitizers and the occupational exposure is relatively low, although this can build up in enclosed spaces. Care should be studied when utilizing sanitizers near naked flames (which can occur where gas burners are utilized in laboratories).
To conclude, hand sanitisation is an important process of staff to follow in healthcare and pharmaceutical settings. Hand sanitization is one of many main methods for avoiding the spread of infection in hospitals and contamination within pharmaceutical operations. This required amount of control requires the use of a successful hand sanitizer.