Hygiene of the Skin: When Is Clean Too Clean?

Elaine Larson, Columbia University School of Nursing, New York, New York, USA.


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2001;7(2) 

In This Article

Microbiology of Hands of Health-Care Professionals

Damaged skin more often harbors increased numbers of pathogens. Moreover, washing damaged skin is less effective at reducing numbers of bacteria than washing normal skin, and numbers of organisms shed from damaged skin are often higher than from healthy skin[60,61]. The microbial flora on the clean hands of nurses (samples taken immediately after handwashing) have been reported in several recent studies (Table). Methicillin resistance among coagulase-negative staphylococcal flora on hands did not seem to increase during the 1980s to the 1990s, and tetracycline resistance decreased (Table).


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