Frequent hand disinfection does not harm

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Can constant hand disinfection also be harmful? No, says a hygiene expert. His advice on the use of disinfectant dispensers is therefore clear.

The increased use of disinfectants since the beginning of the corona pandemic is completely harmless in the opinion of a hygiene expert.
Only in very rare cases could there be a tolerance of disinfectants for bacteria, says Johannes Knobloch, head of hygiene at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE). This means that the bacteria do not die off so quickly. “We have never seen this with viruses before,” says Knobloch and also emphasizes that “disinfectants do not cause resistance to antibiotics.

Hand disinfectants are based on alcohol. “There is no evidence that this in any way leads to resistance or tolerance in bacteria or viruses,” says Knobloch.

Rare incompatibilities
Furthermore, the dermatologically tested products are extremely well tolerated. The approximately 15,000 employees of the UKE, for example, use them every day, while nursing staff use them on average 30 to 40 times per shift. “There are very rarely any incompatibilities. In most cases, these are allergies to fragrances and refatting substances.

According to Knobloch, surgeons disinfect their hands for three minutes before their work. “You soften the skin properly with alcohol.” A harmful effect is not known. “Surgeons often reach a very blessed, long age. And I don’t know how many hundred liters of alcohol they have poured over their hands,” says Knobloch.

Use disinfectant dispensers everywhere
The hygienist advises to use offers for disinfection everywhere. “This will protect yourself and in case of doubt others as well.” Rubbing alcohol into the skin is probably also more skin-friendly than frequent hand washing with soap.

The German Dermatological Society (DDG) had also advised to disinfect hands at the start of school in early August instead of washing them frequently with soap. Otherwise the skin barrier would be impaired and the risk of hand eczema increased. If hands are not visibly dirty, hand disinfection with alcohol is preferable to washing hands with soap. Ideally, hands should be creamed after every disinfection or washing.

  • hp with reports from k.at. picture: pixabay.com
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