Home Skin Care Hand disinfection: Instructions

Hand disinfection: Instructions

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 322 views

So that you don’t constantly fall victim to the flu and the like, it’s best to wash your hands regularly. In addition, some people like to use hand disinfection , especially in the cold season . But does that really protect against pathogens better than hand washing alone? And how do you use the disinfectants correctly? Find out everything you need to know about hand disinfection here.

Is hand disinfection useful?

A hand disinfection. is expressly recommended for certain areas by the World Health Organization (WHO). Especially in clinics, nursing homes and outpatient clinics, the staff have to disinfect their hands regularly – this is called hygienic hand disinfection. The hand sanitizers kill dangerous microorganisms and prevent them from being spread around the hospital by staff. Just washing your hands won’t do it.

In addition, surgical hand disinfection is carried out before operations. She’s even more thorough. To do this, the surgeon disinfects everything up to the elbow and lets the disinfectant work longer. This also reduces the constantly present skin-borne bacteria . This is important so that the patient’s wound does not become infected if the protective gloves tear.

When should you disinfect your hands?

There are other situations outside of the medical field in which hygienic hand disinfection makes sense: if you have contact with a particularly large number of people, for example in mass accommodation or in a job that involves a lot of customer interaction.

When processing food, for example in large canteens, the staff should also disinfect their hands. Otherwise the food can be spoiled by microorganisms. If you don’t have the opportunity to wash your hands on vacation or on the go, hand disinfection is a good alternative, according to the Robert Koch Institute Berlin.

Hand disinfection at home?

Hygienic hand disinfection can also be appropriate at home. For example, if a family member has a highly contagious disease. This prevents more people from getting sick. If there are people at home who have a weak immune system, hand disinfection helps to protect this person from actually harmless pathogens. For example, if someone has an autoimmune disease or has undergone chemotherapy . The immune system is then weakened by medication and a cold often hits these people much harder. However, proper hand washing is usually sufficient in the home. It reduces the germs on the skin enough to minimize contamination.

Wash hands properly

You can read how to wash your hands properly here: Wash your hands properly

Correct hand disinfection

Before you disinfect your hands yourself, be sure to talk to your family doctor. He can tell you whether you need hygienic hand disinfection and which hand disinfectant is suitable for you. If you buy an incorrectly dosed product, you could burn yourself or use too little of the product. Also, be careful not to wash your hands immediately before disinfecting. The water softens the skin and does not improve the effect of hand disinfection. So leave some time in between.

What to consider beforehand

  • Pay attention to the expiry date: do not use expired funds.
  • Pay attention to the effect: Not every remedy is effective against all viruses , for example.
  • Only use certified products: your pharmacist will advise you.

Hygienic hand disinfection instructions

Hygienic hand disinfection should proceed as follows:

  • Your hands must be dry before treatment.
  • Take about three to five milliliters of hand sanitizer. This corresponds approximately to the volume of a cupped hand .
  • Rub both hands thoroughly. You don’t have to follow a specific order.
  • Make sure that the fingertips, nail folds, thumbs and spaces between the fingers in particular are sufficiently moistened and rubbed in.
  • The manufacturer of the agent specifies a specific exposure time. Until then, you must keep your hands moist with the product. The duration is often at least 30 seconds.
  • Do not rinse the product off with water, but let it soak in completely.

hand sanitizer

The main active ingredients in hand disinfectants in Germany are primarily the alcohols ethanol, propanol and isopropanol. The concentrations are between 70 and 95 percent. Often these alcohols are combined. That increases the effect. Their advantage is that they dry well and act quickly against many microorganisms.

In addition, these alcohols are not harmful to humans on the skin. The duration of the treatment depends on which group of pathogens is involved and what the composition of the agent is. Non-enveloped viruses such as noroviruses, for example, can only be inactivated with longer exposure times compared to bacteria. You should find out exactly which microorganisms a hand disinfectant is effective against from the manufacturer’s information and have your pharmacist explain it to you.

Take care of stressed hands

If you have to constantly pay attention to hand hygiene, hand disinfection is the method of choice. The alcohols also dissolve fats from the skin, like soap does when washing, but these are partly brought back into the skin because you rub your hands with the product. When washing, on the other hand, the fats are completely washed away and the skin dries out even more. In principle, it is recommended that you care for your hands sufficiently, for example with moisturizing creams, both when  disinfecting your hands and washing your hands.

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