In the experiment, the main objective was to compare the efficiency of two treatments in terms of Ajax and Hand sanitizer. The class was divided in two groups and Group A performed hand washing with Ajax while Group B used the hand sanitizer as hand washing agent. Cultures of the dominant hand by imprint method using Petri dish agar were done on each subject before and after the application of hand washing agents. The inoculated agar Petri dishes were incubated for a week at 37°C. Colony counts of the organisms identified were made. The mean change in the number of colony count on cultures before and after hand washing was used as the primary measure of the efficacy of hand washing agent. The T test was employed for testing of significance. The use of Ajax showed variable results, either increasing the mean colony count to a maximum 434 or reducing it to a minimum 181 after hand washing, while the hand sanitizer reduced the mean colony count of resident bacterial flora by 4 to 497 after hand washing. Testing for significance revealed that the mean change in the number of colony count of resident bacterial flora using Ajax was 21 while using Sanitizer was 109 with a p value of <0.0001.
This activity concludes that sanitizer Bacdown is more effective than dishwashing soap Ajax in reducing the number of colony count of resident bacterial flora.
A pandemic is an outbreak of an infection and disease all over the world. Scientists and health professionals are concerned about the possibility of an influenza (flu) pandemic. When a flu pandemic happens, people may have little or no immunity, and a vaccine may not exist for this new flu virus. The disease then spreads easily person-to-person and may cause serious illness across the country and around the world very quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Haley et.al 2005), the most common method that pathogens are spread is via the hands. Therefore, proper hand hygiene helps to limit the spread of the flu and other infectious diseases, and is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of disease. Hand washing reduces diseases that are spread through faecal–oral or hand-to-mouth transmission, direct or indirect transmission (i.e., close contact by sharing personal items), and respiratory or airborne transmission (i.e., coughing or sneezing).
There are many hand cleansing products on the market. About 75 percent of liquid soaps currently on shelves in American grocery stores display the word “antibacterial” on their labels, and we are constantly adding new antibacterial products to our cleansing arsenals. Health professionals strongly discourage their use, as they are associated with the rise of antibiotic resistance (Light et. al, 2005).
In the experiment, Bacdown sanitizer and dish washing soap, Ajax was used. The Bac down hand sanitizer contains the active Ingredient: Ethyl Alcohol 62%. The hand sanitizers also contain moisturizers, and other ingredients to provide optimal germ killing without the drying effects of other hand sanitizers. The Ajax soap has sodium carbonate, quartz, sodium dodecylbenzenesulfate as it main ingredients.
In this experiment, we investigated the most effective hand washing method and hand-cleansing product, wrote an experimental protocol to test my hypotheses, carried out the experiments, then drew conclusions based on the results.
The aim of this study was to prospectively assess the effectiveness of routine hand washing using Ajax versus Hand sanitizer in reducing the number of colony count of bacterial resident flora in the hands of an individual.
Materials were two treatments were used: Bacdown and Ajax, and a Petri dish with agar and cotton swaps.
The class was divided in half; one-half using the Ajax and the other using Bac down. Everyone was given a Petri dish with agar necessary for growth of bacteria. Before opening the Petri dish, each person rubbed his or her hands for 30sec using the respective treatment provided. After which they opened the Petri dish quickly, so the Petri dish would not be exposed to floating bacteria. They then inoculated bacteria on the agar by rubbing their fingers to the Petri dish. This took 30 secs. After which they covered the dishes and handed it to the TA for incubation at 37 degrees for one week. The following week each person observed each dish, counted the number of colonies, and recorded them on a table that had two columns: Ajax and Bac dawn. Colony count was done on all organisms isolated from the agar plates. The mean change in the number of colony count of resident bacterial flora on cultures before and after hand washing was used as the primary measure of the efficacy of hand washing agent. Students’ T-test was used for testing of significance.
Results and discussion
Table one Comparison of actual colony counts and mean change colony count before and after application of two hand-washing agents
Dish washing soap 1
Hand sanitizer 2
Top of Form
Mean = 193.33333
Standard Deviation = 387.42548
Standard Error = 129.14183
Bottom of Form
Mean = 66.77778
Standard Deviation = 44.1893
Standard Error = 14.72977
P value = 0.35804
Using logarithmic transformation of the number of colony count of resident bacterial flora and subsequently doing a Student’s t-test, it was shown that hand sanitizer is more effective than Ajax in reducing the number of colony count of resident bacterial flora (p =0.35804). The use of Ajax showed variable results, either increasing the mean colony count to a maximum 2101 or reducing it to a minimum 13 after hand washing, while the hand sanitizer reduced the mean colony count of resident bacterial flora by 1209 to 6 after hand washing. Bacdown treatment had the lowest variance of 493 compared to 615 of Ajax soap. (Table 1).
Mainly hands, making hand decontamination the most important means of preventing dissemination, spread infection. There is some evidence to suggest that when access to hand decontaminating agents is poor or the agents available are disliked; hands are washed too seldom, increasing risks of cross-infection. Although people frequently do not wash their hands when they should, the principal disagreement among individuals about hand washing involves which agent or agents should be used. Some believe that antiseptic agents (products used on the skin that kill microorganisms) should be used, while others believe that plain soap or detergent, preparations should be used for routine hand washing.
Most studies have used the comparison of the microbe counts on the hands before and after hand washing as the single criterion for the effectiveness of the hand washing agent. To determine an effective hand washing policy, one must know something about the skin’s inhabitants. As described by Price in 1938, the two kinds of organisms on the hands are resident and transient flora. Though the resident flora differs quantitatively and qualitatively on different parts of the body and on different people, everyone has aerobic staphylococci (Staphylococcus epidermidis and micrococci) and diphtheroids in all skin areas. The most number of organisms on hands is about and underneath the fingernails. Most resident organisms are found on the superficial skin surface, but 10% to 20% of total flora is concentrated in skin crevices, where lipid and superficial cornfield epithelium make their removal difficult and make complete sterilization of the skin impossible. Fortunately, resident floras are usually of low virulence. They are not easily removed by scrubbing but can be inactivated by antiseptic. Transient flora may consist of many different pathogenic organisms such as Streptococci, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas (Sprunt and Redman, 2003).
Transient flora are not firmly attached to the skin and can usually be removed quickly and almost as effectively by hand washing for about 30 seconds with soap or detergent and water instead of with an antiseptic. In fact, friction and water alone are almost as effective as soap and water. However, it should be emphasized that the effectiveness of hand washing practices depends on several factors: drying of the hands, handedness, use of an agent, source, and volume of rinsing water, and frequency of rubbing. However, the performance of routine hand washing is related to workload and availability of hand decontaminating agents (Joklit and Amos, 2005).
In this experiment, the use of Ajax and water as hand washing agent would either increase the mean colony count of resident bacterial flora to a maximum of 434 colonies or reduce it to a minimum of 181 colonies after hand washing. This increase in the number of resident bacterial flora could be explained by the rubbing action during hand washing, which might transfer the organisms from one hand to the other. Resident flora are not easily removed from the hands but can be inactivated by the use of antiseptics. Using sensitizer as a hand-washing agent reduced the mean colony count of resident bacterial flora from 4 to 497 colonies after hand washing. Alcohol has been used as an antiseptic for years and is still one of the most effective.
The efficacy of Ajax and water versus alcohol based hand sanitizer Bac dawn in removing the transient organisms on the hands of an individual was not proven in this experiment. There were no side effects noted after the single use of sanitizer.
Conclusion and recommendation
This study concludes that hand sanitizer is more effective compared to routine hand washing using Ajax soap and water in reducing the number of resident bacterial flora on the hands of an individual. This experiment recommends the use of alcohol sanitizer as an alternative hand-washing agent in areas with limited facilities for hand washing or when rapid disinfection is necessary to ensure significant reduction of bacterial resident flora on the hands of an individual. It is highly possible that the use of the alcohol in sanitizer may significantly reduce spread of infections thus further studies are recommended.
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