Friday, 23 Oct 2020

Coronavirus: Shut down hand dryers to stop COVID-19 spread, warns consultant

A senior hospital consultant has repeated her warning that electric hand dryers should be switched off immediately to prevent the spread of coronavirus as lockdown is eased.

Speaking to Sky News, Dr Charlotte Fowler, who has 27 years of health service experience and works for a large London NHS trust, fears the use of the machines by a COVID-19 carrier could generate contaminated droplets, threatening to infect anyone breathing them in for up to three hours.

Dr Fowler pointed out aerosols were known to pose the biggest risk of coronavirus infection, which was why NHS staff wore special protective equipment when dealing with certain medical procedures, such as putting a patient on a ventilator.

The imaging specialist, who uses aerosols in her own work to test patients with lung problems, feels so strongly about the danger to the public she has launched a petition calling for a ban on hand dryers.

As restrictions are lifted and more businesses, including pubs and restaurants, are set to reopen, Dr Fowler argued it was essential that the use of the devices was halted until aerosol-trapping filters were developed and they were shown to be safe.

Instead, just had people had started to use face masks, she suggested people could carry small pocket hand cloths to dry their hands when out.

Dr Fowler also accused the government of ignoring evidence from its own specialist advisers for hand dryers to be turned off, and so putting the public at risk.

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