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Handwashing with Alcohol-Based Rubs?

Q: I have a question about a statement made in the Quality America OSHA Safety Program Manual. It says in Tab 5 that alcohol-based waterless antiseptic agents can be used for routine decontamination in all clinical situations when hands are not visibly soiled. Someone here has said washing with soap and running water is required between patients. Are the alcohol-based gels not allowed for handwashing between patients?

A: According to the CDC's Handwashing Guidelines, alcohol-based hand rubs are the most efficacious agents for reducing the number of bacteria on the hands of personnel (see page 29 at link above). Besides when hands are visibly contaminated, you may also wish to use soap and water after 5-10 uses of alcohol gel when hands feel sticky from the build-up of emollients in the alcohol-based rubs. Using the alcohol-based hand sanitizers between patients isn't just okay, it's recommended!

Posted by Quality America on March 22, 2007 | Comments (0)


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