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drying hands, hand hygiene -

Keith Redway, University of Westminster We are always told how important it is to wash our hands to stop the spread of infections. What many people don’t realise, however, is that the way we dry our hands after washing them could have just as big an effect on our health. Spreading diseases In a public washroom, the choice is usually between a paper (or textile) towel and an electric hand dryer, which could be either a warm-air dryer or a jet-air dryer. Sounds innocent enough, but according to some studies, all of the methods can infect you and other people...

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Alcohol based products will contain one of two active ingredients; alcohol or isopropanol, a form of secondary alcohol. Both are effective antiseptic products effective in killing germs and bacteria and they share many of the same properties, their main differences being on a molecular level. One distinct property that they both share is that they are highly flammable. Minimum recommended alcohol content is still over 62%! For maximum effectiveness hand sanitisers should contain 60% – 95% alcohol for maximum efficacy; a high concentration which has long raised concerns in both the media and the health care community. Hospitals and other...

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We all hear on the news about various outbreaks in hospitals or cruise ships but what exactly are these infections? MRSA MRSA (often referred to as the superbug) stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (SA). SA is a bacterium from the Staphylococcus aureus family. About 30% of us carry SA on the surface of our skin, or in our nose, without developing an infection. This is known as being colonised by the bacteria. However, if SA bacteria get into the body through a break in the skin they can cause infections such as boils, abscesses or impetigo. If they get into...

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Many hand sanitiser products contain an ingredient called Triclosan. Triclosan is a phenolic diphenol ether used for decades as an antibacterial and anti-fungal. After a number of health scares linked to Triclosan the U.S Food and Drug Administration took action in late 2013 requiring manufacturers to demonstrate that their products were safe for long term daily use and were more effective than soap and water in preventing the spread of infections.       Triclosan and the related ingredient Triclocarban found in bar soaps have been the focus of studies that have suggested significant health risks including liver cancer and reduced...

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Study shows that germs thrive on aircraft surfaces   MRSA can live for up to seven days on aeroplane surfaces, according to a new study. And at least one strain of E. coli can survive for up to four days on an aircraft armrest. These were among the results of a study carried out by a microbiology professor at Alabama’s Auburn University. James Barbaree and his team recreated the interior of an aeroplane incorporating the humidity levels and types of surfaces likely to be encountered. The study revealed that millions of pathogens are likely to be present on aircraft. Barbaree’s...

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