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Handwashing: Transient-Patient-To-Transient Transmission Of Pathogens

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Hand hygiene is the primary measure for infection control. The purpose for hand hygiene in the health care setting is to remove microorganisms from the hands in an effort to reduce the risk of nosocomial infections. Handwashing reduces the number of transient organisms on the skin surface. Although hands cannot be sterilized, most transient organisms can be removed by 30 seconds of proper scrubbing with soap and water. Proper scrubbing would include vigorous motion with the hands rubbing together and fingers working in between the finger web space and inclusive of the dorsal and ventral surfaces of the hands. Microbes that reside in sweat ducts and hair follicles of the skin, however, cannot be dislodged readily. Surveys show that one in five medical professionals carry potentially pathogenic antibiotic-resistant pathogens on his or her hands. Failure to wash one's hands before and after each patient contact is probably the most important contributor to the spread of infections. These microbes pose a …show more content…
As recently described, patient-to-patient transmission of pathogens via HCWs' hands involves five sequential steps. Patients' skin can be colonized by transient pathogens that are subsequently shed onto surfaces in the immediate patient surroundings, thus leading to environmental contamination. As a consequence, healthcare workers contaminate their hands by touching the environment or patients' skin during routine care activities, sometimes even despite glove use. It has been shown that organisms are capable of surviving on healthcare workers hands for at least several minutes following contamination. Thus, if hand hygiene practices are suboptimal, microbial colonization is more easily established and/or direct transmission to patients or a fomite in direct contact with the patient may

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