Sample Nursing Paper on Hand Washing Versus Hand Sanitizer

Abstract

Different strategies have been put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases around the world. These including isolation, wearing facemasks, and maintaining proper hand hygiene. Maintaining proper hand hygiene is the most effective of these interventions. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend hand hygiene through handwashing using running water and soap or using hand sanitizers to avoid the transmission of the mentioned condition. This paper examines the hand hygiene intervention that is the most effective in infection risk control. It includes a detailed exploration of the mentioned clinical issue, critically appraisal of existing literature on the issue, and how the study can help to improve nursing practice.

 

Handwashing Versus Hand Sanitizer

COVID-19 has become a significant global public health issue. It has increased attention on the need of individuals to maintain proper hand hygiene given the disease’s contagiousness. As of June 25, 2020, the number of COVID-19 reported cases was 9,724, 146 in close to 215 countries (“Coronavirus Cases,” n.d.). The disease has led to devastating number of deaths, which stood at 492, 085 as if June 25, 2020 (“Coronavirus Cases,” n.d.). Many individuals have recovered from the disease and the number stands at 5,260, 762 recoveries (“Coronavirus Cases,” n.d.). COVID-19 is an infectious disease, which is caused by severed acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which can persist and remain infectious on surfaces for 5-9 days (“Coronavirus Cases,” n.d.). According to the WHO, the virus can be transmitted in the form of aerosols and fomite. The health organization further argues that the virus can remain viable and infectious in aerosols for hours and on surfaces for 9 days maximum depending on the inoculum shed (Jing et al., 2020). Therefore, it is crucial for global society to observe contact isolation, use infection control tools, such as face masks, and maintain proper hand hygiene to curb the spread of the virus. Maintaining proper hand hygiene is important as hands may come into contact with respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes from an infected individual or indirect contact with a contaminated surface. Such contact may enable the transmission and spread of the disease. Given the adverse effects related to COVID-19, the CDC and WHO recommend maintenance of proper hand hygiene through handwashing or use of hand sanitizer. However, there has been debate on which of the two hand hygiene interventions is the most effective in curbing the spread of the disease. Thus, this paper examines which of the hand hygiene practices between handwashing and the use of hand sanitizers is effective. By comparing the benefits and drawbacks of these hand hygiene practices, the best intervention can be determined.

Clinical Issue

According to the CDC, maintaining proper hand hygiene is an essential intervention in response to COVID-19. The CDC contends that adopting this intervention is the simplest and most affordable way through which individuals can prevent the spread of the virus. The general hand hygiene is deemed as the cornerstone of infection prevention of coronavirus. The CDC and WHO recommend that it is essential for individuals to maintain proper hand hygiene as it is the simplest way of preventing the transmission of the coronaviruses from one person to another. These organizations recommend that some of the hand hygiene practice that the general public should adopt include handwashing by using simple soap and running water, and use of antiseptic hand sanitization particularly alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

The World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that the most effective ways for control of the spread of coronavirus, which should be promoted and the general public encouraged to adopt should include the use of hand sanitizers and handwashing by using water and soap. These organizations assert that handwashing should be thoroughly done for approximately 20 seconds. CDC provides a step-by-step process for handwashing and involves wetting of hands with clean water, lathering soap on every surface of the hand, scrubbing hands together for at least 20 seconds, and rinsing hands with clean water before drying (Jing et al., 2020). According to Jing et al. (2020), this is the most effective way for individuals who cannot afford to buy alcohol-based hand sanitizers. According to the WHO, the use of hand sanitizer products with alcohol-based formulations of 62-95 percent is the most effective way of controlling the spread of COVID-19 (Jing et al., 2020). Alcohol-based sanitizers can denature the proteins of microbes and inactivate viruses. However, the intervention is associated with various limitations: the unaffordable of alcohol-based products among the extremely poor people and potential skin-toxicity due to high alcohol content.

The paper is guided by a PICOT research question: does the use of hand sanitizers prove to be more effective in reducing the risk of spread of an infectious within the community as compared to handwashing? The significance of this question is that it prompts examining the advantages and drawbacks of the two interventions. Thus, it could provide detailed information to nurses related to which hand hygiene intervention they should encourage society to adapt to prevent the spread of infection. Examining the existing studies related to this study could help to outline which of the hand hygiene interventions produces an optimal outcome with regard to infection control

Sources and Search Process

The paper carries out extensive literature research using two electronic databases: Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) and Google Scholar. These databases offer detailed and reliable nursing journals that are important for nursing research. The research paper explores three nursing journals accessed from the mentioned databases. The selection of these nursing journals was based the research question: whether they answer the question of the most effective method between the use of hand sanitizer or handwashing in the control of COVID-19 spread and whether they were published within the past 5 years. Some of the key concepts that were used to search for the journals include benefits and drawbacks of the use of hand sanitizers in infection control, advantages and disadvantages of handwashing in the prevention of the spread of infectious disease, and which hand hygiene method between the use of hand sanitizers and handwashing is the most effective in curbing the spread of influenza disease.

Appraisal of Evidence

Golin et al. (2020) posit that the coronavirus pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to public health across the world and that the strategies that have been put in place to deal with the disease are not only supportive but also preventative as they aim at reducing the risk of its transmission. The authors also argue that hand hygiene has been of utmost importance in preventing the spread of COVID-19. This study examines the efficacy of the use of hand sanitizers in control of the COVID-19 infection. The authors conduct extensively research the existing literature to examine whether the use of hand sanitizers and handwashing is effective in the prevention of the spread of coronavirus disease. The article’s key finding is that most alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective at inactivating enveloped viruses, including coronaviruses. Besides, the study suggest that individuals should use a sufficient volume of alcohol-based sanitizers to ensure complete hand coverage to ensure that all viruses that may be on an individual’s hand are completely denatured and inactivated. The researchers conclude that the use of hand sanitizer is the most effective method for infection control whenever water and soap are unavailable for handwashing. Its major strength is that it determines the most effective hand hygiene method the society should adopt to prevent the spread of infection. On the other hand, its weakness is that it relies on existing studies meaning that findings might be biased.

Ahmed (2018) argues that if proper hand sanitization is maintained, the risks of transmissions of dangerous microorganisms may be significantly reduced. The study examines the effectiveness of hand sanitizers in decreasing microorganisms on the hands and included five participants. Ahmed (2018) avers that the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers decreases microorganisms from individuals’ hands, but not at a satisfactory level thus its effectiveness against some pathogens is low. The researcher concludes that hand sanitizers are less effective compared to handwashing using soap and water thus recommends that hand sanitizers only be used when water and soap are unavailable to reduce pathogens in the hands to reduce the risk of infection. While this research provides detailed information on the effectiveness of the use of hand sanitizers in infection control, it does not explore the efficacy of handwashing in preventing the spread of an infection

Femi et al. (2019) examines whether hand sanitizers are more effective in infection control compared to handwashing. The study included 50 participants and took place between January and May 2018 at the Redeemer’s University, Ede, Osun State, Nigeria. Microbes were applied to the participants’ palms, then the participants were divided into two groups. One group was required to use alcohol-based sanitizers to clean their hands while the other group was expected to handwash using soap and water. The study’s key finding is that handwashing eliminated the microbes while hand sanitizers did not kill all the pathogens on some participants. Based on the study, handwashing with soap and water is effective in eliminating pathogens that may contribute to disease infection and it is more reliable compared to hand sanitizers. This study’s strength is that it critiques the most effective hand hygiene intervention that nurses should promote and encourage the general public to adopt in infection control in eliminating pathogens that may contribute to infectious diseases. The study asserts that the general public should encouraged to adopt regular handwashing technique to aid in infectious disease prevention.

Per the existing literature handwashing with soap and water is the most reliable method of infection control in influenza diseases such as coronavirus. The significance of discussed studies is that they provide health professionals with knowledge related to which hand hygiene method they should promote and encourage the general public to adopt to prevent the spread and transmission of coronavirus disease from one person to another. However, the limitation of the studies is that they do not provide detailed information related to the procedure and duration an individual should follow and take to wash his or her hands to ensure that viruses and other germs are eliminated. The findings of the above studies can be implemented by healthcare providers educating the general public about the significance of handwashing with soap and water to prevent the spread of viruses and germs such as coronaviruses.

Summary of Practice Change

The knowledge I have gained from the above studies is that adopting handwashing practices is more effective compared to use of sanitizers. With COVID-19 cases rising globally, there has not been sufficient time for researchers to identify the best preventive methods of the disease as they are researching the appropriate vaccine to cure the disease. According to the WHO and CDC, maintaining proper hand hygiene is probably the most effective and simplest way of curbing the spread of the disease. These organizations acknowledge that handwashing with water and soap and the use of hand sanitizers are the most effective practices for COVID-19 control. According to existing studies, handwashing with soap and water is more effective and reliable than the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers when it comes to eliminating microbes from the hands. The existing literature shows that handwashing kills viruses and other germs from hands while alcohol-based sanitizers only inactivate the viruses and do not sufficiently reduce pathogens from hands. The knowledge that I have gained from exploring various studies is that adopting handwashing practices, particularly using soap and running water, can effectively help me to protect myself from contracting COVID-19 that is currently causing numerous deaths globally.

Conclusion

The coronavirus pandemic has adversely impacted global public health given the thousands of deaths reported. Consequently, several strategies, including contact isolation, use of facemasks, and maintaining proper hand hygiene, have been put in place to control the spread of the disease. The WHO and CDC recommend that the spread of the disease can be curbed either by handwashing with soap and water or hand sanitizers. Studies find that handwashing with soap and water is the most reliable method for infection’s control. If integrated into nursing practice, this research may prove pivotal as it offers information to nurses with regard to which hand hygiene method they should adopt. If the recommended handwashing practice is adopted, the spread of coronavirus can be curtailed.

 

 

References

Ahmed, T. (2018). Effectiveness of different instant hand sanitizers against normal flora and some selected pathogenic bacteria. Stamford Journal of Microbiology, 8(1), 10-14. https://doi.org/10.3329/sjm.v8i1.42431

Coronavirus Cases. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdUOA?Si

Femi, A., Benedicta, C. N., & Chiagoziem Anariochi, O. (2019). Hand hygiene practices and the effectiveness of hand sanitizers at controlling enteropathogens among the residents of a university community in Osun State Nigeria. Microbiology Research Journal International, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.9734/mrji/2019/v27i330100

Golin, A. P., Choi, D., & Ghahary, A. (2020). Hand sanitizers: A review of ingredients, mechanisms of action, modes of delivery, and efficacy against coronaviruses. American Journal of Infection Control. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2020.06.182

Jing, J. L., Yi, T. P., Bose, R. J., Mccarthy, J. R., Tharmalingam, N., & Madheswaran, T. (2020). Hand sanitizers: A review on formulation aspects, adverse effects, and regulations. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(9), 3326. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093326