Good health is in your hands

Hand washing, coughing and sneezing into the crook of your arm, social distancing, wearing a face covering. The golden rules of social behaviour have been instilled into many of us during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective and at the same time simplest measures against the spread of pathogens, as the World Health Organization (WHO) has been promoting for years.1

Experts estimate that about 90% of all hospital infections are transmitted via the hands. In everyday life, people’s hand hygiene in general – at least before Corona – was not especially good. In the UK, for example, it has been shown that almost one third of people who regularly use public transport have bacteria of faecal origin on their hands.2

In both the domestic and public setting, hand disinfection in particular as a core element of good hygiene practice can prevent infections. Studies show that especially the probability of gastrointestinal infections, but also respiratory and skin infections, is significantly reduced when people sanitise their hands or at least wash them very thoroughly.3



Hand hygiene is one of the most cost-efficient ways to reduce sick leave and absenteeism among staff.4 Studies show that the risk of contracting infections can be reduced by 30–50% through better hand hygiene measures.5,6

One study, in a large insurance company with almost 1,400 persons, recorded 20% fewer sick days among employees who were provided with hand sanitisers. The company’s focus on the health and well-being of its staff was also appreciated and reflected in greater employee satisfaction.7 In another study, regular hand disinfection during working hours alone reduced cases of colds by 65%.8

*Does not include supply of equipment or technology


Any kind of hand hygiene is OK? No, the choice of disinfectant agent is crucial. The following applies when selecting high-quality hand sanitiser:
Pay attention to proven effectiveness according to EN 1500, to added care substances and to proven quality. This can be recognised through approvals from the professional associations ÖGHMP (Austrian Society for Hygiene, Microbiology and Preventive Medicine) or VAH (Association for Applied Hygiene), as well as from the rating in the Vienna disinfectant database WIDES.


Washing hands and sanitising hands are equally effective – WRONG

When washing your hands thoroughly, some germs and viruses are rinsed off mechanically, together with dirt and skin particles. Hand disinfection, in contrast, eliminate the pathogens - very quickly and thoroughly. The reduction in germ levels required to reliably prevent further transmission of pathogens is specified in international test standards (such as EN 1500). Neither hand washing with conventional soap nor “non-alcoholic hand disinfection” meets this requirement.

Hand disinfection makes the skin dry – PARTY WRONG

Low quality products may actually damage the skin. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is also very stressful on the skin and makes it dry and cracked. Premium hand sanitisers, such as desderman® and desmanol® contain specially selected care substances. They deliver valuable ProPanthenol and moisturising ingredients to the skin with every application. The dispensers can be conveniently placed wherever they are needed – even away from washbasins.

It does not always have to be alcohol – WRONG

Ethanol and 1- and 2-propanol are agents of choice for hand disinfection, with good reason. They are effective against bacteria, fungi and many viruses, within short contact time (max. 30 seconds) and the alcohol evaporates quickly following application. Your hands are dry and well cared – for thanks to the skincare ingredients. “Non-alcoholic hand sanitisers” – usually chlorine-based – are not suitable for preventing infection efficiently. Using hand sanitiser products containing sodium hypochlorite is strongly discouraged, due to their unstable nature and potential for skin irritation.



1 https://www.who.int/infection-prevention/campaigns/clean-hands/en/ zuletzt abgerufen am 26.06.2020 | 2 Judah G et al. (2010) Dirty Hands: bacteria of faecal origin on commuters’ hands. Epidemiol. Infect. 138: 409-414 | 3 Bloomfield S et al. (2007) The effectiveness of hand hygiene procedures in reducing the risks of infections in home and community settings including handwashing and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. AJIC (10Supplement I):S27-S64 | 4 Jameson D et al. (2006) Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press | 5 Curtis V and Cairncross S (2003) Effect of washing hands with soap on diarrhoea risk in the community: A systematic review. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 3(5): 275–281 | 6 Aiello AE et al. (2008) Effect of hand hygiene on infectious disease risk in the community setting: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Public Health 98(8): 1372–1381 | 7 Arbogast J.W. et al. (2016) Impact of a Comprehensive Workplace Hand Hygiene Program on Employer Health Care Insurance Claims and Costs, Absenteeism, and Employee Perceptions and Practices. JOEM Volume 58, Number 6 | 8 Hubner NO et al. (2010) Effectiveness of alcohol-based hand disinfectants in a public administration: Impact on health and work performance related to acute respiratory symptoms and diarrhoea. BMC Infectious Diseases 10 (1): 250 | 9 VAH (Hrsg.). Chlorbasierte Desinfektionsmittel: Anforderungen an die Zertifizierung durch den VAH. Stand 07.05.2020. Vorabveröffentlichung online auf www.vah-online.de | 10 Mitteilung der Desinfektionsmittel-Kommission im VAH: Neuer Wirksamkeitsbereich begrenzt viruzid PLUS – was ist das? Hyg Med 2016; 41 – 12 | 11 Babeluk R et al. (2014) Hand hygiene – evaluation of three disinfectant hand sanitizers in a community setting. PloS one, 9(11), e111969. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111969 | 12 Hübner NO et al. (2013) Impact of Health Campaign on Hand Hygiene with alcohol-based hand rubs in a non-clinical setting. Journal of Hospital Infection 83 (S1):S23-S28 | 13 Zivich PN et al. (2017) Effect of hand hygiene on infectious diseases in the office workplace: A systematic review. Am J Infect Control. 2018 Apr;46(4):448-455. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2017.10.006 | 14 VAH (Hrsg.). Chlorbasierte Desinfektionsmittel: Anforderungen an die Zertifizierung durch den VAH Stand 07.05.2020. Vorabveröffentlichung online auf www.vah-online.de