Handwashing May Spread Bacteria

ANAHEIM, Calif-Physicians at a roundtable discussion at a meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology have reported frequent handwashing may actually promote the spread of bacteria by breaking down the hand skin barrier.

Studies show people responsible for washing their hands frequently during work (i.e., healthcare workers and food service employees) often suffer from dermatitis. One report shows 45% of healthcare professionals suffer from irritant contact dermatitis. This increased vulnerability to redness, itching, and irritation actually provides a more susceptible environment to bacteria.

While washing their hands is essential to their professions, the physicians recommended products that would prevent the breakdown of their skin. One participant of the roundtable said more than 8 million Americans suffer from hand dermatitis and the skin problem is one of the leading occupational health concerns today.