How much hand sanitizer is enough?

Most international standards for hand sanitizer used in healthcare settings do not take hand size into account when recommending how much hand sanitizer to use, but a new study in the American Journal of Infection Control says that shouldn't be the case.


Researchers invited 67 visitors at an infection prevention and control conference in Switzerland to perform hand hygiene using ultraviolet light-traced hand sanitizer and check how well the sanitizer covered their hands. Three volumes of hand sanitizer were used: 1 mL, 2 mL and 3 mL. The researchers examined the coverage on palms and back of hands of 134 hands.

They found that 1 mL was "never sufficient for effective hand hygiene," even if the person had small hands. Findings also suggested 3 mL would be sufficient for people with small or medium hands, but it was not sufficient to cover palms and backs of hands for people with large hands.

"The volume of applied [hand sanitizer] needs to be adapted to hand size if both palm and dorsum are to be covered," the study concluded.

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