Lend a Healthy Hand


Experts in hand hygiene, skin health science and the human microbiome are focusing on how microbiomes are shared between people, people and animals and people and inanimate objects.

“Our hands play a critical role in transmitting microorganisms between people, pets, inanimate objects and our environments,” said Noah Fierer, Ph.D., Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. “Since hands are transporting microorganisms, including pathogens, between people, the dynamics of hand microbial communities and factors impacting them are important to understand.” 

Hand Hygiene

Specializing in hand hygiene and skin health sciences, GOJO works with researchers to study the hand microbiome. With over 100 trillion microorganisms living on the human body—10 times more than human cells—GOJO researchers focus on how to keep microorganisms sanitized.

“It is well established that hand hygiene is one of the best preventive measures we can take to reduce illness and infection because it rapidly reduces the load of potentially illness-causing germs, while still leaving normal, resident microorganisms behind,” said Jim Arbogast, Ph.D., GOJO vice president of hygiene sciences and public health advancements.

The scientists recommend continuing to practice proper hygiene and washing hands with warm water and soap:

  • Before eating,
  • Before and after caring for someone who is ill,
  • Touching items in public many others may touch,
  • After using the restroom, etc.

Utilizing a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are unavailable is also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Microbiome Research

“Today, with the emerging science of our hand microbiome, we are working with microbiome experts to conduct larger, controlled studies with the best scientific methods to increase the understanding of the microbiome ecosystem of our hands and the relationship with health outcomes,”  added Arbogast.

“We cannot yet conclude what is a healthy hand microbiome,” added Fierer. “This is because our current understanding is limited by a lack of standardized methods among studies and a lack of information about the functional role of the hand microbiome.”

More research is needed on hand microbiome to better understand human microbiome.

Source: Infection Control Today

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