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FAQ - Hand Hygiene - 2015
FAQ - Hand Hygiene - 2015



I was in a dental office today and the staff was talking about "Nail Wraps". I must be old because I had no idea what they were talking about. It's like having a sticker on your nail that lasts for about 2 weeks. They come in all different designs. One of the employees stated that they had been at an OSHA training session where the consultant told them that these are fine to be worn in dentistry?? I rather doubt this after checking the Nail Wrap website and reading how they are applied and that they do "lift" after time just like an artificial nail. I am wanting to confirm that these are not a recommendation by CDC either?

Ask OSAP would like to refer you to the following information from the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry:

Although the relationship between fingernail length and wound infection is unknown, keeping nails short is considered key because the majority of flora on the hands are found under and around the fingernails. Fingernails should be short enough to allow DHCP to thoroughly clean underneath them and prevent glove tears. Sharp nail edges or broken nails are also likely to increase glove failure. Long artificial or natural nails can make donning gloves more difficult and can cause gloves to tear more readily. Hand carriage of gram-negative organisms has been determined to be greater among wearers of artificial nails than among non-wearers, both before and after handwashing. In addition, artificial fingernails or extenders have been epidemiologically implicated in multiple outbreaks involving fungal and bacterial infections in hospital intensive-care units and operating rooms. Freshly applied nail polish on natural nails does not increase the microbial load from periungual skin if fingernails are short; however, chipped nail polish can harbor added bacteria. 1

The following Google search may also contain some information of interest:

Fingernails and dental infection control  


1) Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61.    
Accessed on October 6, 2015.

2) Google search using the terms “Fingernails and dental infection control”. Accessed on October 6, 2015.



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