New Year, New Focus On Infection Control
- Fiona Collins
- Jan 11, 2013
As the New Year begins, it is a good time to look to the future. As demonstrated in recent surveys both at home and overseas, infection prevention remains an area where more attention is required to reduce the risk of cross-contamination and disease transmission. Key areas in the dental setting include a rigorous approach to hand hygiene and PPE. Hand hygiene is a critical factor in reducing disease transmission, as originally discovered by Semmelweis in the middle of the 19th century in the obstetrics field. Flora in the superficial layer of the skin are easily transmitted from person to person as well as onto inanimate objects that then become contaminated. Hand hygiene must be performed between each and every patient, before donning gloves and after removing them. It must also be performed if gloves are being changed out during treatment. Skin is a natural protective barrier, and avoiding drying of the skin helps avoid loss of integrity of the skin. When performing hand hygiene, using products that avoid drying of the skin is advised. Emollients and hand creams are available that help to prevent drying of the skin and that are formulated to preclude them from affecting the integrity of gloves used during the care of patients.