Scientists say that air hand dryers should be banned in hospital bathrooms because they blow bacteria into the room.
The use of paper towels significantly reduces the risk of spreading germs among sick patients, warn researchers at the University of Leeds.
They found high levels of dangerous bacteria that cause blood poisoning, pneumonia and gastroenteritis when dryers were used.
Air hand dryers should be banned in hospital bathrooms because bacteria blow in the room, according to researchers at the University of Leeds (stock image)
Writing in the Journal of Hospital Infection, they asked that the dryers, which can leave up to five times more bacteria in the soil than paper towels, be removed from hospitals.
The study leader, Professor Mark Wilcox, an expert in medical microbiology in Leeds, said: "The problem starts because some people do not wash their hands properly.
"When people use an air-jet dryer, microbes break off and spread through the bathroom, creating a spray that contaminates the bathroom, including the dryer itself and, potentially, the sinks. , the floor and other surfaces, according to the design of the dryer and its location.
"If people touch these surfaces, they risk being contaminated with bacteria or viruses."
"Air-jet dryers often rely on contactless technology to initiate hand drying, however, paper towels absorb water and microbes that remain in the hands and if disposed of properly, there is less chance of cross contamination.
The use of paper towels significantly reduces the risk of spreading germs among sick patients, the researchers warn. Driers can leave up to five times more bacteria on the floor than paper towels (original image)
The Health Department already restricts air driers in toilets in hospital wards and other clinical areas, but this is due more to noise than to safety. Therefore, they are still allowed in public areas of the hospital, putting patients and visitors at risk.
The research team observed two toilets in each of the three hospitals in the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
Each of the toilets had paper towel dispensers and air dryers, but only one of them was in use on a given day.
The Department of Health already restricts air dryers in toilets in hospital wards and other clinical areas, but this is due to noise rather than safety (stock image)
On each day, for 12 weeks, the levels of bacterial contamination in the toilets were measured, which allowed making comparisons between the effects of paper towels and air dryers.
Scientists found five times more bacteria on the floor when air dryers were in use compared to paper towels, and much more in the air, dust and surfaces of the room.
The errors included E. coli, which causes gastroenteritis and pneumonia; Staphylococcus aureus, which is responsible for wound infections and blood poisoning; and enterococci, which cause infections that are difficult to treat, particularly in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Professor Wilcox said: "We found multiple examples of increased bacterial contamination on surfaces, even by fecal bacteria and antibiotic resistant, when using air-jet dryers instead of paper towels. hands affects the probability of microbes spreading and, therefore, possibly the risk of infection. "
The study was funded by the European Tissue Symposium, a commercial organization that represents the companies that manufacture paper towels.
However, the researchers insisted that the findings were conceived, designed, conducted and interpreted independently, and reviewed by experts.
A 2016 study by the University of Westminster found that an extravagant model of a modern hand dryer was capable of circulating viruses up to 9 feet in a bathroom and polluting 60 times more errors than an older model of hot air.
WHAT ARE STAPHYLOCCAL INFECTIONS?
Staphylococcal or staphylococcal infections are caused by the Staphylococcus bacteria.
These can cause relatively minor skin infections, such as boils, as well as serious ones that affect the blood, lungs and heart.
Most infections are caused by a group of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, which includes MRSA. MRSA is resistant to certain antibiotics.
Infections that affect the skin and soft tissue include:
- Hierve – red, painful bumps that usually develop on the neck, face, armpits, or buttocks
- Impetigo – causes sores, blisters and scabs; usually in children
- Skin abscesses – an accumulation of pus that appears as a painful lump under the surface of the skin
Invasive infections include:
- Endocarditis – infection of the inner lining of the heart, which causes fever, pain in the chest and cough
- Pneumonia – lung infection causing cough, shortness of breath and chest pain
- Septicemia – infection of the blood that causes fever and rapid breathing and heart rate
About one in three people carries the Staph bacteria harmlessly on their skin.
The & # 39; infections by Staph & # 39; can cause red and painful boils that typically develop on the face
It only causes problems when it enters the body through cuts, scrapes or medical equipment.
Although healthy people may be affected, people with weakened immune systems, such as due to a side effect of chemotherapy, are more likely to suffer.
Boils and other minor forms of infection usually do not require treatment.
Antibiotics or a minor procedure may be given to drain the pus from the skin.
For invasive infections, hospital treatment is required, which usually involves antibiotic injections for several days.
People can help prevent Staph infections by:
- Washing your hands with soap and warm water frequently
- Keeping the skin clean
- No towels, razor blades, bed linens or toothbrushes are shared
- Keeping cuts clean and covered
Source: NHS Choices