A shortened 15-second application time and a simpler three-step technique for use of alcohol-based hand rub is as effective in reducing bacteria as the 30-second application and six-step technique recommended by WHO, and could improve hand hygiene compliance.
That’s according to new research presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam recently.
WHO recommends a six-step ‘how to hand rub’ technique for using alcohol-based hand rub. However adherence to all six steps is low and previous research indicates that a simplified three-step hand rub technique is superior to the six-step technique in terms of compliance and killing bacteria.
The current recommended application time for hand rubs is 30 seconds. But recent research suggests that 15 seconds of hand rubbing could be just as effective at reducing bacteria.
In this randomised crossover trial, Dr Sarah Tschudin-Sutter and colleagues from University Hospital Basel, Switzerland investigated combining the simpler three-step technique with a shorter application time of 15 seconds.
Twenty healthy volunteers (aged 18 to 51 years) were randomly assigned to rub their hands by following four different techniques: the six-step hand hygiene technique for 30 seconds; the six-step hand hygiene technique for 15 seconds; the three-step hand hygiene technique for 30 seconds; and the three-step hand hygiene technique for 15 seconds.
Because this was a randomised crossover trial, each participant was assigned to all four groups.
Results showed that a shorter application time of 15-second rubs was as effective at reducing bacterial counts on the hands of participants compared to the recommended 30-second hand rub, irrespective of the hand hygiene technique.