Results: Bacterial dispersal and quantitative skin measurements were obtained from 86 healthcare workers over a 3 day period. The levels of bacteria shed from the hands of the healthcare workers was found to be negatively correlated to corneometer measurements (p < 0.01); and positively correlated to desquamation index (p < 0.02). No correlation was found between levels of shed bacteria and transepidermal water loss. As expected, corneometer measurements were found to be negatively correlated to desquamation index (p < 0.0001).
Conclusion: The results of this hospital study demonstrate that the levels of bacteria shed from the hands of healthcare workers are influenced by the health of the individual's skin; i.e. dry skin sheds more bacteria. This increased bacterial dispersal from dry skin may increase the infection transfer risk for healthcare workers with poor skin condition in the acute care setting.
Reference: American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 34, Issue 5, June 2006, Pages E85-E86. C.A. Kolly, J.W. Arbogast, D.R. Macinga