The doctor has warned that the droplets from the hand dryers could pose a threat of being breathed in for up to three hours. Dr Charlotte Fowler, a consultant radiologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’, is very concerned about the aerosols, which are able to carry the COVID-19 infection. Dr Fowler has written to the government about her concerns and has launched a petition to ban hand dryers.
Deaths in the UK have reached more than 42,000, as Boris Johnson is expected to announce more easing of the lockdown.
Speaking to Sky News, Dr Fowler said: “Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we didn’t really worry too much about the fact that there were germs in the aerosols because there were none that posed a threat to our health.
“But since COVID, as it is so dangerous we all need to avoid getting infected.
“We have known that aerosols infected with COVID are really dangerous as they can be inhaled deep down into your lungs.
“Everyone is completely paranoid about anything that involves aerosols around COVID patients in hospitals.
“So it’s a bit strange to me that, although everyone knows hand dryers create aerosols, that hand dryer use hasn’t been treated with the same level of concern as aerosol-generating procedures in hospitals.
“The aerosols produced by a hand dryer could potentially be just as dangerous as intubating a patient on an Intensive Treatment Unit (ITU) if someone with the infection uses it.”
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The doctor highlight research from 2018, which found jet air hand dryers spread bacteria and viruses around public toilets.
She added: “We know COVID survives for three hours as an aerosol.
“So it means if someone goes and washes their hands in a public loo and dries their hands, they might be really lucky and wash their hands with 100% efficiency, but usually people don’t.
“So the chances are that if someone goes and uses that, anyone who comes in for the next three hours could be infected by the aerosols.”
There are concerns of a second wave of the infection returning later in the year.