Alcohol hand sanitizer

Alcohol hand sanitizer is now ubiquitous. It is used right across the healthcare arena, and in the waste sector though its efficacy on dirty hands is severely limited.

Since its introduction, there have been sporadic reports of intentional ingestion of alcohol hand sanitizer. Now, a UK Coroner is writing to the Department of Health to press for a change in policy that will ensure hand sanitizer bottles are kept out of reach of patients after a man died having consumed the contents of a sanitizer bottle placed by his hospital bedhead.

That seems to be a sensible precaution, but risk assessing this risk of poisoning against the widespread risk of infection though failure in hand hygiene really does not compute.

In the waste sector, the risk is similar and removal of alcohol hand sanitizer would be entirely wrong, though employers must be aware of the perhaps slim chance of abuse. A much better alternative is the antimicrobial-impregnated wet wipe. These should be in plentiful supply at the point of use, and used often, to clean hands. Unless extra-large wipes are available, and these are far more expensive, use several wipes to clean hands, ensuring all surfaces have been wiped down rigorously. Only then can you enjoy that cup of tea and bacon roll.



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