We determined risk factors for hand contamination and compared the efficacy of 3 randomly allocated hand hygiene agents in a group of surgical intensive care unit nurses. We cultured samples of one of the subjects' hands before and samples of the other hand after hand hygiene was performed. Ring wearing was associated with 10-fold higher median skin organism counts; contamination with Staphylococcus aureus, gram-negative bacilli, or Candida species; and a stepwise increased risk of contamination with any transient organism as the number of rings worn increased (odds ratio [OR] for 1 ring worn, 2.6; OR for >1 ring worn, 4.6). Compared with use of plain soap and water, hand contamination with any transient organism was significantly less likely after use of an alcohol-based hand rub (OR, 0.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.1–0.8) but not after use of a medicated hand wipe (OR, 0.9; 95% CI, 0.5–1.6). Ring wearing increased the frequency of hand contamination with potential nosocomial pathogens. Use of an alcohol-based hand rub resulted in significantly less frequent hand contamination.
Journal Article. 4552 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology
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