5.2 Hand hygiene

5.2.1 Hand rubs

Alcohol Hand Rubbing vs Washing

  • Standard recommendations: alcohol-based handrubs or handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • When hands are visibly dirty: handwashing with soap and water
  • When hands are not visibly dirty: alcohol-based handrubs is a preferred method as it demonstrated better antiseptic efficacy. It is also easier to be used at the point of care and is minimally time-consuming, resulting in better compliance.

* Use of gloves do not constitute part of hand hygiene. Proper hand hygiene should still be performed before and after wearing gloves. It is not recommended to use alcohol-based handrubs whilst gloves are on hands. 

Ethanol vs Isopropyl Alcohol

Peiris JSM, Guan Y, Yuen KY (2014): Severe acute respiratory syndrome. Nature Medicine 10: S88-S97.
Gaunt ER, Hardie A, Claas ECJ, et al. (2010): Epidemiology and Clinical Presentations of the Four Human Coronaviruses 229E, HKU1, NL63, and OC43 Detected over 3 Years Using a Novel Multiplex Real-Time PCR Method. Journal of Clinical Microbiology 48: 2940.
Matoba Y, Abiko C, Ikeda T, et al. (2015): Detection of the Human Coronavirus 229E, HKU1, NL63, and OC43 between 2010 and 2013 in Yamagata, Japan. Japanese Journal of Infectious Diseases 68:138-141.

Further Reading

1. Stopping the adhesive chain together We will beat the Corona virus

2. WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in health care

5.2.1 WHO Hand Hygiene

3. Hand Hygiene Promotion Campaign by Canadian Specialist Hospital