May 23, 1994

Can Universal Precautions Spread Disease?-Reply

Author Affiliations

USAF Bethesda, Md

Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(10):1164-1166. doi:10.1001/archinte.1994.00420100151024

Handwashing continues to be regarded as a primary means of infection control.1 Carlen's experience with handwashing demonstrates the need to reevaluate time-honored practices when they are being applied to the modern context. Handwashing as a means of infection control was initially popularized in an era when physicians saw, on average, far fewer patients than they do in today's volume-driven health system. Although handwashing may have been tolerable as a 10-times-daily practice at the turn of the century, the need to wash one's hands up to six times that often is a call for a technological solution (improved soaps) to be coupled with this educational intervention.

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