Handwashing really is important…

February 2019. We have all learned time and time again about the importance of handwashing, and how it can reduce the risk for harmful infections and, ultimately, save lives. Then, along comes Pete Hegseth, co-host of Fox & Friends, with the statement that he has not washed his hands in 10 years. He stated the reason for this as being “germs are not a real thing – I can’t see them, therefore they’re not real.” Whether he was joking or not is still under debate, but one thing is for sure, his statement is far from being correct.

Hegseth’s statement no doubt created a lot of publicity, but many are now concerned that people will be influenced by him in not washing their hands. And they have every right to be.

The Guardian (2019) quotes Professor Val Curtis, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she states that:

“Hands are the most important vector of infectious diseases.”

Val Curtis, 2019. Retrieved from the Guardian

She adds to this that not washing your hands or improper handwashing puts everyone at risk, and that it is a moral issue above all. If, for example, you go to the washroom and don’t wash your hands, everything you touch afterwards will be contaminated. Everyone who touches the same surfaces that you did will be touching the bacteria that you have spread, putting them at high risk for infection.

Even though the risks are significant from improper handwashing, many people rarely put in the extra little effort needed in order to reduce these risks. According to Sandoz (2019), 1 in 20 people fail to wash their hands properly after using the washroom. Also, the average time that people take to wash their hands is 7 seconds, which is far below the recommended 20 seconds (Sandoz, 2019).

How to properly wash your hands

So what is considered proper handwashing and how can we achieve it in order to prevent infection? The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides us with detailed steps in order to maintain ultimate hand hygiene. The steps are as follows:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands well, under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

Proper handwashing is necessary to prevent the spread of infection and to ultimately save lives. It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to do, and it can make all the difference. So do your part for yourself and society; wash your hands 🙂

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2019/feb/12/hands-hadnt-washed-10-years-peter-hegseth

https://www.sandoz.com/stories/access-medical-information/washing-hands-saving-lives-surprising-health-benefits-clean-hands

https://www.thestar.com/entertainment/television/opinion/2019/02/11/fox-news-host-pete-hegseth-shouldve-kept-his-dirty-secret-to-himself.html

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

Medical hygiene monitoring badges: how new technology is helping to prevent the spread of microorganisms

Hygiene and cleanliness are already monitored closely in hospitals and healthcare facilities. Hand sanitation is a crucial hygiene practice for both medical professionals’ well-being, as well as their patients. However, according to TrendHunter (2014), hand hygiene compliance in US hospitals is only achieved 50% of the time. And this is only an example of hand hygiene in the US. Studies would probably show similar, if not worse, percentages in countries across the globe. That is why Biovigil invented a medical hygiene monitoring badge.

Source: Pixabay

The Biovigil monitoring badge is specifically made for hand sanitation. The badge can be clipped on to a scrub or lab coat. It reminds healthcare workers to clean their hands when they leave or enter a patient’s room. It also works by telling either healthcare professionals or patients if their hands have been properly sanitized by turning green when the worker places their hand over the monitor. The badge also collects data on hand sanitation and sends it to be analyzed. While these badges are not heavily used yet, they could prove to be very efficient in eliminating the spread of hospital-aqcuired infections.

It is not, then, unreasonable to ask what other sort of technology could be developed in order to better monitor hygiene and sanitation in healthcare facilities. With the technological resources we have today, it is highly possible to create new products such as this. For now, most hygiene monitoring technologies revolve around hand sanitation. But as we’ve seen in other posts, there are way more sources of contamination and spread of bacteria than just hands; hospital bed mattresses, marked medical instruments, surface damages on medical equipment, etc. Why not create a technology that monitors the hygiene of these things as well? Similarly to the hand sanitation monitor, there could be monitors for other medical equipments that alert healthcare cleaners to check if they are clean and safe to use.

 

Source: https://www.trendhunter.com/trends/biovigil

Happy Global Handwashing Day

 

handwashing

October 15th is a day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing.

Handwashing is easy

Only a small amount of water and soap are necessary to accomplish a small action that provides great benefits. It takes 30 seconds and a bit of hand rubbing.

Handwashing works

Washing hands after using the toilet and before handling food can dramatically reduce the risk of infections such as foodborne infection. This year, handwashing was critical in the prevention of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Handwashing is for everyone

We always ask children to wash their hands before eating, when they are back from school or after playing in the yard. From toddlers to elderly, handwashing never loses its importance. Infections can be transmitted by anyone to everyone.  In order to protect children or elderly, everyone should wash their hands. After all, it is the most cost-effective public health intervention.

 

For more information see : globalhandwashing.org