STERIS's Alcare OR Foamed Antiseptic Handrub is designed for hand antisepsis and moisturization in the OR, critical care setting, and general patient care units.

The phrase "to put one's life in the hands of..." is a fairly common one, but in the hospital setting it rings especially true. Once on the OR table and under the knife, a life literally does hang in the balance, and it is the capable and skilled hands of the surgeon that will determine the fate of that life.

While the skill and training of the operating surgeon are indeed critical to the outcome of the patient, the patient's life rests in the surgeon's hands in yet another way. The risk of infection to the patient is directly proportionate to how well the surgeon's hands have been cleaned.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has consistently said that the best prevention for the spread of infection is hand hygiene, and while use of gloves and pre-op scrubs is now standard practice in hospitals and surgical centers worldwide, some reports still show hand hygiene compliance as low as 40 percent. Fortunately, there are a number of companies striving to provide the healthcare community with surgical scrubs, hand washing solutions, and antiseptic rubs that are reliable, convenient, and comfortable, thereby helping to boost compliance and improve patient outcomes across the board.

Ecolab Healthcare offers an extensive line of surgical scrubs and hand washing products for use prior, during, and after surgical procedures. Their Alphadine and Endure product lines are available in a variety of formulations, all of which are effective against fungi, gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, and antibiotic-resistant organisms. These hand scrubs and hand wash solutions exceed the criteria stated in the FDA's 1994 Tentative Final Monograph (TFM) for Healthcare Antiseptic Drug Products, and provide six hours of persistent antimicrobial protection.

Ecolab Heathcare's brush-free, alcohol-based Endure 450 Surgical & Healthcare Personnel Hand Antiseptic provides long-lasting and persistent antimicrobial protection.
The company's newest product is the Endure® 450 Waterless Surgical and Healthcare Personnel Hand Antiseptic with Moisturizers. This waterless, brush-free, alcohol-based surgical hand antiseptic contains 62-percent ethanol and the company's patented APT™ (Advanced Potentiating Technology) to provide six hours of persistent protection and skin compatibility.

"Endure 450 Waterless Surgical and Healthcare Personnel Hand Antiseptic has an advanced system of moisturizers and conditioners, which actually rehydrates and maintains skin health with every application," explains John Bucholz, Senior Marketing Manager at Ecolab Healthcare. "Dermatological testing shows that Endure 450 provides greater moisturization in both the superficial and deeper layers of the skin compared to other waterless antiseptic products. In fact, Endure 450 was also significantly more moisturizing to the skin than a standard hand lotion."

Endure 450 has demonstrated no potential to induce sensitization, making it ideal for repetitive use in the OR, and it is fully compatible with both latex and non-latex gloves.

Alcare® OR Foamed Antiseptic Handrub from STERIS Corporation is designed for hand antisepsis and moisturization in the OR, critical care units and general patient care units. This hand rub is a leave-on surgical scrub with efficacy that meets the performance criteria proposed by the FDA's TFM, without the negative effects sometimes associated with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG)-formulated leave-on products, such as being labeled eye irritants and/or ototoxic. The active ingredient in Alcare OR Foamed Antiseptic Handrub is ethyl alcohol, but it also contains emollients to condition the skin.

In addition to the Alcare OR Handrub, STERIS also offers a complete regimen of hand washing and skin care products—a specific combination of medicated soap, body wash, antiseptic hand rub with emollients, and a lotion skin conditioner that facilitate the maintenance of the skin barrier function and minimize the damaging effects of repeated hand washings, supporting CDC and JCAHO requirements.

"This regimen of products has been clinically proven to improve skin moisturization," says Sanja Valentic, Senior Product Manager of Applied Infection Control at STERIS. "That's going to be important to surgeons and other healthcare providers because if they are using a regimen of products that improves their skin, they will be more likely to wash their hands as recommended. This will increase compliance and help to lower infection rates at their facility."

Hibiclens®, Regent Medical's antseptic/antimicrobial skin cleanser, is bactericidal on contact. It offers immediate and persistent action against a wide range of microorganisms including gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Indicated for use as a surgical hand scrub and healthcare personnel hand wash, as well as for patient pre-op skin preparation and as a general skin cleaner, Hibiclens can be used repeatedly throughout the day without causing irritation, dryness, or discomfort.

Hibiclens contains four-percent CHG, providing persistent antimicrobial action while preventing skin infection. For added convenience, this antiseptic is available in a variety of sizes ranging from 15-ml packets to one-gallon bottles.

3M has two waterless products for hand antisepsis. For surgical hand antisepsis they offer 3M™ Avagard™ Surgical and Healthcare Personnel Hand Antiseptic with moisturizers. For general use in pre- and post-op, and for those people who are not scrubbed in like the circulating nurse and anesthesia, they offer 3M™ Avagard™ D Instant Hand Antiseptic with moisturizers, an alcohol-based hand antiseptic in the same emollient base as Avagard surgical hand antiseptic.

Avagard surgical hand prep is an FDA approved waterless/brushless hand antiseptic for surgical hand preparation and incorporates two active ingredients, alcohol for fast kill and CHG for persistence and cumulative activity. The persistent activity of Avagard antiseptic hand prep is proven to suppress microbial growth for up to six hours, with immediate and sustained activity over time.

The Avagard antiseptic hand prep products demonstrates bactericidal activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria including antibiotic resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE), and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis (VRE).

Of course, killing bacteria and germ strains is only half the battle toward avoiding cross-contamination. Once the hands are disinfected, assurance is needed that they will stay that way.

"Surgical hand scrubs and antiseptics should not only provide effective microbial kill, but protect and maintain skin barrier integrity as well, thereby reducing the risk of colonization and shedding of infectious agents," says Ellen Anderson Manz, RN, Technical Service Specialist for 3M's Medical Division. "3M Avagard antiseptic hand prep is uniquely formulated in an advanced, emollient-rich lotion base proven to help maintain the skin's integrity. And, because Avagard antiseptic hand prep is applied without water or scrub brushes, mechanical trauma can be avoided."

Medonyx Inc.'s gelFAST is a wearable dispenser of antiseptic alcohol gel deigned to improve hand hygiene frequency among healthcare workers.
Medonyx, Inc. has developed a hand-washing product aimed at healthcare workers throughout the hospital, designed to increase hand hygiene compliance by creating a strong habit of hand washing. The culmination of the combined efforts of designers, physicians, and scientist, gelFAST is a wearable dispenser of antiseptic alcohol gel that helps to remove the systemic barriers to clean hands, leading to a safer hospital environment. As gelFAST is worn on the body and is ergonomically designed, hand hygiene is made very convenient and always accessible. By eliminating the common detours to wall-mounted antiseptic pumps that can interrupt workflow, gelFAST can help to develop a consistent habit of frequent hand washing.

Each daily-disposable gelFAST cartridge contains 50 ml of clear and unscented 70-percent ethyl alcohol gel with emollients and is equipped with an integral garment clip. Even if used extensively, the cartridges are designed to last the user throughout an entire high demand work shift.

Garrett Medical Systems LLC offers a surgical hand antiseptic, Sterillium® Rub, designed to disinfect hands and keep them healthy. "Skin health is an important issue, and there is no evidence that hand cleanliness and healthy skin need to be opponents," says Garrett Kelley, President of Garrett Medical Systems. "Traditional hand-washing agents are known to cause irritation and dryness, resulting in lower compliance rates. Alcohol-based products containing emollients, though, cause substantially less skin irritation and dryness than plain soaps or antimicrobial soaps."

Sterillium Rub Antiseptic from Garrett Medical exceeds the FDA's TFM efficiency standards for surgical prep, including the requirement for six-hour persistence.
Sterillium Rub Surgical Antiseptic is a broad-spectrum, fast-acting, alcohol-based hand rub with persistent effect. It can be used for the first pre-operative prep of the day and for all subsequent pre-op applications, as well as for continuing hand hygiene applications in pre-op, post-op, and anywhere hand hygiene is required. Sterillium Rub contains no CHG, but still exceeds the requirements of the FDA's TFM efficiency standards for surgical prep for all aspects of immediate efficacy, as well as the requirement for six hours of persistence, with a single active ingredient. Removal of CHG is done to prevent drying and damaging of the skin.

This surgical antiseptic is not a scrub, but a brushless, waterless, 80-percent ethanol "rub" applied in a simple two minute application that eliminates the negative side effects associated with brushing in a non-sticky, non-greasy, and non-irritating formula. Skin lipids are not being washed off, but are rubbed back into the skin during the rub procedure. Thus the protective function of the stratum corneum can be maintained. In addition, built-in emollients help to restore the skin's natural moisture. Sterillium Rub's rapid bactericidal activity against gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains such as MRSA and VRE, achieves at least 99.999-percent reductions in bacterial counts. While viruses are not typically the target of surgical hand antisepsis, Sterillium Rub has shown distinguished results against a variety of viruses including Rotavirus, Rhino, Adeno, Influenza A, RSV, HIV, HBV, BVDV (surrogate virus for HCV), Norovirus, and SARS-Coronavirus after a contact time of 30 seconds, making it an ideal hand hygiene agent for use in high risk applications. Beginning in August 2005, Sterillium Rub will be distributed by Medline Industries.

The DuPont RelyOn Antiseptic Hand Wash Products are effective against a range of pathogens including Hepatitis A, B, and C.
DuPont recently introduced its DuPont™ RelyOn™ antiseptic and disinfectant product line for infection prevention and control in the healthcare environment. The Dupont RelyOn Antiseptic Hand Wash Products are available either as a personal-size hand spray or as hand wipes, and are effective against a range of pathogens including Hepatitis A, B, and C, based on in vitro testing. The one hand application of the two-ounce hand spray provides and easy way to minimize the risk of cross contamination. In addition, the two-ounce hand spray delivers more than twice the number of applications than most leading two-ounce gels.

Protective gloves can be donned immediately after application, as the DuPont RelyOn hand antiseptic spray and hand wipes leave no sticky residue. These hand wash products are specially formulated with a skin softening emollient, allowing for comfortable and frequent use without the fear of skin irritation.

BD surgical scrub products have been used and trusted in hospitals for more than 30 years, and are offered in a full line to meet every surgical scrub need and preference. The BD surgical scrub product line includes rinseless and brushless alcohol based scrubs, foam solutions, and a wide variety of impregnated and dry brushes. The company's antimicrobial product solutions include four-percent CHG, two-percent CHG, PCMX, PVP Iodine, and alcohol formulations.

BD's EZ-Care contains emollients and moisturizers to help protect hands from the effects of daily scrubbing.
BD E-Z Care™ Surgical and Healthcare Personnel Hand Antiseptic is a 70-percent alcohol based product that provides a safe, effective alternative to surgical hand antisepsis scrubs. It also contains rich emollients and moisturizers to help protect hands from the harsh effects of every day antimicrobial use.

Non-toxic and mild on skin, VioNexus No Rinse Spray Antiseptic Handwash from Metrex was designed for frequent use in all areas of the surgical services department. VioNexus is an ethanol-based antiseptic hand wash that kills 99.9-percent of bacteria in as little as 30 seconds, and contains benzalkonium chloride for additional residual kill. It also contains glycerin, which acts as an emollient to soften the skin and leave the users hands feeling soft, not sticky or gummy.

VioNexus No Rinse Spray Antiseptic Handwash is available in the company's unique No-Touch Dispenser, which uses a state-of-the-art infrared sensor to activate the pre-measured spray. This dispenser eliminates the risk of cross contamination and makes hand hygiene compliance practically second nature.

Sprixx has introduced a new unscented alcohol hand sanitizer formula that can be used with its popular XE wearable dispenser.
Sprixx has announced the availability of a new unscented alcohol hand sanitizer formula for its line of professional, body-worn hand sanitizers. Containing 63-percent ethyl alcohol with emollients, the new product is available for the popular Sprixx XE Dispenser which is delivered in a 1.35-ounce replacement cartridge. The XE personal dispenser, which resembles a beeper, can be clipped to a belt or clothing, and is operated with a single hand. The new unscented formula is also available for the Sprixx HP 2.36-oz spray bottle which fits into the the unique HP holster that can also be clipped to belts, clothes, or other objects.

The new Sprixx Unscented Formula helps to avoid the problem of staff personal preferences and sensitivities. An unscented formula is a better fit for most hospital settings. Cancer patients and those in the ICU and NICU, for instance, are often sensitive to perfumes of any kind. The unscented formula has a slight alcohol scent when first used and then quickly dissipates as the alcohol evaporates, leaving only fresh, germ free hands.

JNJ Industries, Inc. recently developed a hand sanitizer that delivers antibacterial action and glove-like protection in a single lotion that not only sanitizes hands, but also creates a barrier against germs and contamination that lasts for up to four hours. SafetySmart lotion forms a polymeric film that works as an invisible barrier against bacteria and chemicals when applied to intact, healthy skin. Once applied, SafetySmart's ingredients kill disease-causing microorganisms and inhibit the growth of germs and bacteria. This lotion has been proven effective in killing 99.99-percent of bacteria and germs.

SafetySmart nourishes and conditions the skin as well; it is Vitamin E enriched, and contains moisturizing elements to keep skin soft and supple. Hypoallergenic, non-toxic, alcohol-free, and petroleum-free, it complies fully with FDA requirements. SafetySmart's invisible film provides protection for the hands against harsh chemicals, caustic elements, or bodily fluids, in addition to providing anti-microbial activity on contact.

While early hand washing techniques required excessive time and caused irritation, today's surgical scrubs and hand antiseptics have evolved with the surgeon's best interest in mind. They can be applied quickly and often without discomfort and are readily available at practically every turn throughout the facility. So not only do the surgeon's hands feel better, but his or her patients do as well.