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BMJ Open ; 11(8): e046175, 2021 08 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363534


OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of hand hygiene using alcohol-based hand sanitiser to soap and water for preventing the transmission of acute respiratory infections (ARIs) and to assess the relationship between the dose of hand hygiene and the number of ARI, influenza-like illness (ILI) or influenza events. DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis. DATA SOURCES: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), PubMed, Embase, Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL) and trial registries were searched in April 2020. INCLUSION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials that compared a community-based hand hygiene intervention (soap and water, or sanitiser) with a control, or trials that compared sanitiser with soap and water, and measured outcomes of ARI, ILI or laboratory-confirmed influenza or related consequences. DATA EXTRACTION AND ANALYSIS: Two review authors independently screened the titles and abstracts for inclusion and extracted data. RESULTS: Eighteen trials were included. When meta-analysed, three trials of soap and water versus control found a non-significant increase in ARI events (risk ratio (RR) 1.23, 95% CI 0.78 to 1.93); six trials of sanitiser versus control found a significant reduction in ARI events (RR 0.80, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.89). When hand hygiene dose was plotted against ARI relative risk, no clear dose-response relationship was observable. Four trials were head-to-head comparisons of sanitiser and soap and water but too heterogeneous to pool: two found a significantly greater reduction in the sanitiser group compared with the soap group and two found no significant difference between the intervention arms. CONCLUSIONS: Adequately performed hand hygiene, with either soap or sanitiser, reduces the risk of ARI virus transmission; however, direct and indirect evidence suggest sanitiser might be more effective in practice.

Hand Hygiene , Influenza, Human , Respiratory Tract Infections , Virus Diseases , Humans , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , Soaps
BMJ Open ; 11(2): e044364, 2021 02 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1095183


OBJECTIVE: To identify, appraise and synthesise studies evaluating the downsides of wearing face masks in any setting. We also discuss potential strategies to mitigate these downsides. DESIGN: Systematic review and meta-analysis. DATA SOURCES: PubMed, Embase, CENTRAL and EuropePMC were searched (inception-18 May 2020), and clinical registries were searched via CENTRAL. We also did a forward-backward citation search of the included studies. INCLUSION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials and observational studies comparing face mask use to any active intervention or to control. DATA EXTRACTION AND ANALYSIS: Two author pairs independently screened articles for inclusion, extracted data and assessed the quality of included studies. The primary outcomes were compliance, discomforts, harms and adverse events of wearing face masks. RESULTS: We screened 5471 articles, including 37 (40 references); 11 were meta-analysed. For mask wear adherence, 47% (95% CI 25% to 68%, p<0.0001), more people wore face masks in the face mask group compared with control; adherence was significantly higher (26%, 95% CI 8% to 46%, p<0.01) in the surgical/medical mask group than in N95/P2 group. The largest number of studies reported on the discomfort and irritation outcome (20 studies); fewest reported on the misuse of masks, and none reported on mask contamination or risk compensation behaviour. Risk of bias was generally high for blinding of participants and personnel and low for attrition and reporting biases. CONCLUSIONS: There are insufficient data to quantify all of the adverse effects that might reduce the acceptability, adherence and effectiveness of face masks. New research on face masks should assess and report the harms and downsides. Urgent research is also needed on methods and designs to mitigate the downsides of face mask wearing, particularly the assessment of possible alternatives. SYSTEMATIC REVIEW REGISTRATION: Open Science Framework website (timestamp 20-05-2020).

Masks , Humans , Masks/adverse effects , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic