Alcohol-based hand rub - An alcohol-containing preparation designed for application to the hands to reduce the number of microorganisms on the hands. In the United States, such preparations usually contain 60 percent to 95 percent ethanol or isopropanol.
Antimicrobial soap - Soap (detergent) containing an antiseptic agent.
Antiseptic agent - Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that are applied to the skin to reduce the number of microbial flora. Examples include alcohols, chlorhexidine, chlorine, hexachlorophene, iodophors, chloroxylenol (PCMX), quaternary ammonium compounds, and triclosan.
Antiseptic handwash - Washing hands with water and soap or other detergents containing an antiseptic agent.
Antiseptic hand rub - Applying an antiseptic hand rub product to all surfaces of the hands to reduce the number of microorganisms present.
Bloodstream infection - A serious infection that occurs when bacteria from an infected site on the body invade the bloodstream. If bacteria continue to multiply without being stopped by antibiotics or the patient's immune system, there is a high risk of septic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition. TOP
Cumulative effect - A progressive decrease in the numbers of microorganisms recovered following repeated applications of a test material.
Decontaminate hands - Reducing bacterial counts on hands by performing antiseptic hand rub or antiseptic handwash.
Detergents - Compounds that possess a cleaning action. They are composed of a hydrophilic part and a lipophilic part and can be divided into four groups: anionic, cationic, amphoteric, and non-ionic detergents. Although products used for handwashing or antiseptic handwash in healthcare settings represent various types of detergents, the term "soap" is used to refer to such detergents on this Web site. TOP
Hand antisepsis - Refers to either antiseptic handwash or antiseptic hand rub.
Hand hygiene - A general term that applies to handwashing, antiseptic handwash, antiseptic hand rub, or surgical hand antisepsis.
Handwashing - Washing hands with plain (non-antimicrobial) soap and water.
Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) - A type of staphylococci bacteria that is resistant to the commonly prescribed antibiotic, methicillin. This can cause serious infections.
Microorganisms - Microscopic organisms such as bacteria and viruses, commonly known as germs, can cause infections in humans.
Multi-drug resistant pathogens - Bacteria that cause serious infections that are very difficult to treat due to the pathogens' resistance to many commonly- prescribed antibiotics. TOP
Nosocomial infection - An infection acquired in a hospital or other healthcare setting. TOP
Persistent activity - Prolonged or extended antimicrobial activity that prevents or inhibits the proliferation or survival of microorganisms after product application. This may be demonstrated by sampling a site several minutes or hours after application and demonstrating bacterial antimicrobial effectiveness when compared to a baseline level. In the past, this property has also been called "residual activity". Both substantive and non-substantive active ingredients can show a persistent effect if they lower the number of bacteria significantly during the wash period.
Plain soap - Detergents that do not contain antimicrobial agents, or contain very low concentrations of antimicrobial agents that are effective solely as preservatives.
Pneumonia - Infection of the lung. Pneumonia once was a common cause of death and killed one out of four victims. It is still a serious disease, especially in infants and the elderly, who are most vulnerable.
Resistant gram-negative rods - A type of bacteria that causes serious infections that are very difficult to treat due to the pathogen's resistance to many commonly prescribed antibiotics. They are a cause of illnesses such as pneumonia.
Staphylococci - A type of bacteria that causes what is commonly called a Staph infection. Potentially, the bacteria can cause a life-threatening illness should it infect a major organ. Many Staph infections respond to antibiotics' however, there are resistant strains emerging.
Substantivity - An attribute of some active ingredients that adhere to the stratum corneum, remaining on the skin after rinsing or drying, to provide an inhibitory effect on the growth of bacteria remaining on the skin.
Surgical hand antisepsis - Antiseptic handwash or antiseptic hand rub performed preoperatively by surgical personnel to eliminate transient bacteria and reduce resident hand flora. Antiseptic detergent preparations often have persistent antimicrobial activity.
Surgical site infections - Defined by the location of the original contamination, surgical site infections can be caused by MRSA, VRE and other dangerous multi-drug resistant pathogens. TOP
Urinary tract infections - A bacterial infection of the urinary tract, which can include the bladder and kidneys. TOP
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) - Enterococci are a type of bacteria that cause, among other things, serious surgical site and urinary tract infections which are very difficult to treat due to the bacteria's resistance to many commonly-prescribed antibiotics.
Visibly soiled hands - Hands showing visible dirt or visibly contaminated with proteinaceous body substances (e.g., blood, fecal material, urine).
This page was last updated on 02/02/2004
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