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Three-step technique for hand wash

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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.

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.

Twenty healthy volunteers (aged 18 to 51 years) were randomly assigned to rub their hands by following four different techniques: the sixstep 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.

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.

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