Health

Air hand dryers again offensive

Air hand dryers again offensive

After conducting a study showing the damage to forced hand dryers in hospitals, French, Italian and English researchers warn of the presence of these not-so-hygienic devices in hospitals.

Air dryers to avoid in hospitals

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Widely used because ecological and economical hand dryers with air diffusion are no longer popular in the medical and scientific world. And for a good reason, a new study in a hospital once again shows their side effect for the least embarrassing: the spread of bacteria in the room where they are placed.

A new study conducted in three European hospitals, Leeds UK, Saint-Antoine in Paris and Udine, Italy, compared the use of electric hand dryers to put the paper towels in the toilets of these hospitals, in terms of the number of bacteria present in the immediate vicinity.

Verdict: in the three hospitals tested, the number of bacteria was significantly higher in the bathroom on days when forced hand dryers were used. In Leeds and Paris at least five times more bacteria were found on the floor when using hand dryers compared to use of paper towels. The surface of hand dryers, toilet flanges and toilet floors may be contaminated.

The most important bacteria found were:

  • the staphylococcus aureus (Staphylococcus aureus), responsible for several infections that are more or less serious, ranging from a skin infection to sepsis;
  • the enterococcithat can cause infections that are difficult to treat, especially in people with weakened immune systems;
  • the enterobacteriaincluding Escherichia coli, which can lead to various infections, including gastroenteritis, pneumonia or sepsis.

The choice of the type of hand dryer for toilet, not so trivial

"The problem starts with the fact that some people do not wash their hands properly"regrets Professor Mark Wilcox, professor of medical microbiology at the University of Leeds, and co-author of the study. "When people use an air dryer, microbes fly away and spread in the toilet. Indeed, the dryer creates an aerosol that contaminates the room, including the hand dryer itself and possibly the wash basins, floor and other surfaces, depending on the design of the dryer and the location ", He explains: noting that "paper towels leave water and microbes on their hands and, if they are removed correctly, the risk of cross-contamination is low".

"We found many examples of higher bacterial contamination on surfaces, including faeces-resistant and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, when air dryers were used instead of paper towels. The choice for drying hands affects the spread of microbes, and therefore also the risk of infection", Said Professor Wilcox.

For researchers, this new data is in line with the recent French guideline that discourages the use of air dryers in hospital rooms reserved for patients. Note that this directive was originally taken because of the noise generated by electric hand dryers, and not for hygienic reasons.

Source: Medical Xpress

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