Medicine

Using hand dryers in bathrooms may spread bacteria

Using hand dryers in bathrooms may spread bacteria

That's the word, but a new study by University of CT scientists finds they spread fecal matter onto people's hands, CNET reports. But in bathrooms where such plumes gush regularly, where does all that fecal bacteria go?

Researchers added that they weren't sure if dryers are the actual source of bacteria after tests run on the machines found far fewer particles when they were not in use. That's what a new study suggests.

In a new study conducted by a team from the University of CT, researchers went to 36 of the school's bathrooms and placed petri dishes underneath a number of hand dryers. As Newsweek pointed out, installing the filters on select dryers seemed to work decently enough, if not perfectly, as they were able to block about 75 percent of all bacteria.

According to Science Alert, the researchers cautioned that hand dryers could spread various types of bacteria, harmful pathogens and spores included.

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Perhaps we should just wipe our hands our pant legs. As many as 60 different bacterial colonies can be blown out of the machines in just one 30-second drying.

The study found the most likely cause of the bacteria was from inside the cubicles - quite literally poo particles - being blasted into the air when the toilets flush.

That's the best way to do it, you're not blowing air around the facility and it's effective. That's because bathroom bacteria comes from feces and gets "aerosolized" when toilets are flushed, especially with the lid down, Setlow explains. Within a large building, potentially pathogenic bacteria, including bacterial spores, may travel between rooms, and subsequent bacterial/spore deposition by hand dryers is a possible mechanism for spread of infectious bacteria, including spores of potential pathogens if present.


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