Why you should not use modern hand dryers in public restrooms

London, Nov 21: Do you prefer drying your hands with a modern hand dryer over usual paper towels? There's a good reason to switch to the later one.

A new research, published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, by research team from University of Leeds suggests that hand dryers are worse than paper towels when it comes to spreading germs. For the study, the researchers contaminated hands with a bacteria called Lactobacillus. The bacteria is harmless and is not normally found in public bathrooms. This was done to mimic hands that have been poorly washed. With a simple logic that subsequent detection of Lactobacilli in the air would indicate that it spread from the hands while using the hand dryer, the researchers checked bacterial count in the air.

Here are the findings of the study:

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  • Both bacterial air counts around jet air dryers were 4.5 times higher than around warm air dryers
  • Bacterial count in the air was 27 times higher compared to air around paper towels
  • Lactobacilli were detected in the air 15 minutes after hand drying

'These findings are important for understanding the ways in which bacteria spread, with the potential to transmit illness and disease,' Wilcox said. The study suggests that both jet and warm air hand dryers spread bacteria into the air and onto users and those nearby. Airborne germ counts were 27 times higher around jet air dryers compared to the air around paper towel dispensers, said the scientists.

'Next time you dry your hands in a public toilet using an electric hand dryer, you may be spreading bacteria without knowing it. You may also be splattered with 'bugs' from other people's hands,' said Mark Wilcox, professor at the University of Leeds. (Read: Wash hands the right way; prevent diseases like cholera, typhoid and gastroenteritis)

Source: IANS

Photo source: Getty images

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