Hand washing is an indispensable procedure for surgical nurses. Although scrubbing up with a brush is preferable to prevent infections, it is not clear how irritating to the skin scrubbing with a brush is compared with hand washing without a brush. TEWL, high frequency conductance and pH were measured on the hand skin of the same group of nurses before and after daily hand washing for 11 days in different seasons, which were chosen as favourable and unfavourable periods for the condition of hand skin, namely the early summer and autumn. Additionally, we compared the antimicrobial effects on the skin of scrubbing up, using a palm stamp method. TEWL showed significantly higher values with brush washing than with simple hand washing only in the autumn. There was no significant difference in the measurement of high frequency conductance, pH or in the antimicrobial effects between the two washing techniques. Results showed the deleterious effects on the skin of hand washing, particularly that of using a brush in the cold season.
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