Most of us squirt one pump of hand sanitizer, slap it together in our palms and then dry the rest off on our pants. But researchers say there is a protocol and choreography that must be performed in order to prevent the spread of millions of pathogens that could be lurking on our hands.
The World Health Organization recommends the following steps to be taken when using hand sanitizer:
- Fill entire palm with hand sanitizer
- Rub both palms together
- Put right hand over left and interlace fingers
- Put left hand over right and interlace fingers
- Interlock fingers to get under the nails
- Rotation rubbing to clean the thumb
- Hands are clean once alcohol has dried
The process takes about 30 seconds. However, in a study released this week, researchers from the University Hospital Basel found that if all steps were taken but performed in 15 seconds, the same results will be obtained. However, if fewer steps were taken, more bacteria/viruses/pathogens will remain on the hands.
For those who have eczema or sensitive skin, they may not tolerate the alcohol based hand sanitizers and should use soap and water instead.
Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician