Automatic hand dryers: Sanitary or germ-blasters? - CBS46 News

Automatic hand dryers: Sanitary or germ-blasters?

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(KLTV) -

A study says that using hand dryers in public restrooms may blast germs back into the air, then blowing them onto the hands of users and into the air they breathe.

"This can increase the number of germs by an astonishing 255 percent,' said Keith Redway, senior academic in Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Westminster University.

"In theory, if something is that forcefully blowing in the air and there are germs around to be blown around then yes, it could happen, but I don't think it's a substantial risk," Cheryl Herbert, Director of Infection Prevention at Good Shepherd Medical Center, said.

Whether you use a blow dryer or a paper towel, it's actually most important what happens before you get to that point.

"If you have done your hand hygiene correctly, you have used soap and friction and rinsed well; then you have washed the dangerous bacteria down the drain. Your hands are no longer a risk," Cheryl Hebert added.

Another significant problem is touching the faucet after you wash your hands, which is why hospitals don't have dryers.

We teach health care providers to use paper towels to turn off the water so they don't recontaminate their hands on the sink handles, which may be contaminated.

She advises washing your hands in warm water with soap for 30 seconds.

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