Since 2008 Global Hand washing Day is celebrated around the world every year on October 15 to activate communities, households, schools, and workplaces to wash hands with soap to hold back life-threatening diseases.

This year the theme is to “Help More Children Reach their 5th Birthday“.

The short film (above) ‘It’s in Your Hands’ is a wonderful tribute – illustrate that for many people around the world it is not normal at all to have clean water ready available at their homes.

More interesting hand hygiene reports are available at:

Hands on Hand Hygiene

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Dr. Nosanchuk, Associate Professor of Medicine (Division of Infectious Diseases) and Microbiology/Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, considers the fact that while healthcare workers know that they should wash their hands, nosocomial infections associated with the transmission of microbes from health care workers to patients remains an enormous problem:

“We know from various studies as well as observing our fellow clinicians on the wards that hand washing rates dramatically improve when clinicians are observed in the course of routine healthcare delivery. What I didn’t know was that electronic systems that can detect alcohol present in microbicidal gels and soaps. From a pubmed search, I learned that these systems have been in development for several years!”

“The systems available vary, but basically you wear an indicator that, for example, blinks when you wash your hands at a monitored sink. The system registers that you applied a gel or soap. If you approach a patient while wearing the badge without washing your hands at the appropriate sink, the badge vibrates to remind you to return to the hand washing area. If you fail to wash your hands despite the warning, you are flagged (but not directly flogged!) by the system.”

Full article is available at:

http://boards.medscape.com/forums?128@@.2a0928da

More articles about hand hygiene:

http://www.handresearch.com/news/hands-on-hand-hygiene.htm

Study reports: hand gel sanitizers far less effective than expected!

New study reports: hand gels are misleading, only killed 60 per cent of germs at best.

Hands on proper hand hygiene!

Last year, when swine flu hit, sales of some products rocketed by 70 per cent. Yet do hand gels really help? A study carried out in December 2009 by Ottawa University found that some brands that claimed to kill ’99 per cent’ of germs did not – at the very best they killed 60 per cent, and at worst just 46 per cent.

A dailymail report describes:

“The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency says it has had to investigate numerous hand-cleaning products for making claims that they can kill specific viruses such as swine flu or MRSA. They are not allowed to make these claims, because it gives the impression they have some medical effect. Gels can only really help kill everyday germs, such as those that cause the common cold. Yet few people realise that the hands have to be clean in order for many hand gels to work.

‘Like many cleaning agents, most hand gels will be less effective in the presence of protein matter, such as food, mud, faecal matter or blood,’ says Dr Ron Cutler, a microbiologist from Queen Mary, University of London. ‘You really need to wash off all visible signs of dirt before they will be totally effective.’ Many hand gels contain alcohol, which kills germs by attacking their outer membrane. For maximum benefit, a hand gel should contain at least 62 per cent alcohol – but no more than 80 per cent. This is because the gel should contain some water, as once the outer membrane of the bacteria or virus has been penetrated it is water that kills it.

But new research suggests that hands gels won’t protect against gastroenteritis or viral stomach bugs such as norovirus. Furthermore, a recent study by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, Belfast, found that even Spirigel, the alcohol-based gel used in NHS hospitals, stops working within seconds of use. A non-alcohol gel offered much longer protection, killing viruses for up to 24 hours after it was applied.

Should we abandon alcohol hand gels? Non-alcohol gels work in a variety of ways. Byotrol, the gel used in this study, contains mainly water, but the gel forms an invisible layer that stays on the hands and literally pulls bacteria and viruses apart. Some others, such as No Germs, use chemical antibacterial agents or even essential oils. ‘When alcohol hand gels were first introduced years ago, it was so much better than anything else,’ says microbiologist Stephen Falder, who helped develop Byotrol. ‘But if you were going to start designing a hand gel now from scratch, you would abandon alcohol.’

He adds: ‘Alcohol stops working almost as soon as it’s dry, and does not give you residual protection.’ other experts disagree and say that while the effects of non-alcohol hand gels may last longer, alcohol is better at killing germs.

Professor John oxford, a virus expert from St Barts and Royal london Hospital, says he would always prefer an alcohol-based gel. ‘Yes, it might not work against things like norovirus, but norovirus is a very difficult bug to get rid of and nonalcohol gels won’t work against it either – little will. ‘The alcohol ones do work and certainly work against things like swine flu.’

Mr Cutler backs him up. ‘If my hands were dirty, I would wash them first with soap and water, using lots of agitation. ‘This cleans off all visible dirt. I would then apply an alcohol hand gel to get rid of any residual bacteria. ‘There are non-alcohol based products, some for example contain citrus oils, but I am not sure how strong an alternative these are. Washing your hands is the best option. ‘This should definitely be done after you go to the loo, after changing a nappy, after you sneeze, before you eat, before preparing food and after handling raw foods such as meat.'”

“The gold standard of hand washing is using hot running water and soap.”

The gold standard of hand washing is using hot running water and soap!

“‘You need to wash both the palms and the finger tips and around rings of the fingers, as bacteria can lodge there,’ says Dr Anthony Hilton, a reader in microbiology from Aston University. ‘Then you should dry with a paper towel or hand drier. However if this is not available, then alcohol-based hand gels can be a very good substitute.'”

So, the essential is: do not consider hand gel sanitizers as a ‘safe’ alternative for hand washing!!!

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
October 15 – ‘Global hand washing day!’
July 18 – ‘Nelson Mandela day!’
Swine flu prevention is a matter of ‘hand hygiene’!
Hand Hygiene: warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands!
Youtube video contest: ‘it’s in your hands!’

A hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative to hand washing when soap & water are not available!

A hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative to hand washing when soap & water are not available!

About H1N1 Prevention & hand hygiene!

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers — which don’t require water — are an excellent alternative to hand washing, when soap and water aren’t available.

A hand sanitizer is actually MORE effective than soap and water in killing bacteria and viruses that cause disease! For, organisms cannot develop resistance to alcohol, and commercially prepared hand sanitizers contain ingredients that help prevent skin dryness.

But one should be aware that not all hand sanitizers are created with likewise substances. Some “waterless” hand sanitizers do not contain any alcohol. In general one should use only the alcohol-based products. The American CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends choosing products that contain at least 60 percent alcohol.

This is how to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

• 1 – Apply 1/2 teaspoon of the product to the palm of your hand.
• 2 – Rub your hands together, covering all surfaces of your hands, until they’re dry.

NOTICE:If your hands are visibly dirty, however, wash with soap and water, if available, rather than a sanitizer!!!

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
‘Hand hygiene’: a starting point for H1N1 flu prevention!
About health, hands & ‘hand hygiene’!
Did you know that warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands?
Hand facts on hand hygiene!

PICTURE: How a hand sanitizer works!
How a hand sanitizer works: protective layers prevent bacteria from reaching the skin!

Despite swine flu many people haven't improved their hand washing habit!

Hands on hand hygiene: how good is your hand washing habit?

A new US survey has indicated that despite the swine flu, many people haven’t changed their washing hands habits. Did you try to improve your hand washing habit?

The survey was conducted online July 28-31 and involved 1,020 American adults across the country aged 18 to 65. Jon Dommisse, director of marketing and product development at Bradley Corporation (conductor of the survey) said:

“…they wash their hands no more or less frequently. We found the response to the H1N1 question extremely surprising, especially since the medical community has said over and over that hand washing is the best defense against the spread of cold and flu viruses.”

Overall, 87 percent of respondents said they did wash their hands after using public lavatories, but other responses indicated that some may have exaggerated how often they actually did the job correctly. When asked if they had also used soap, the numbers declined only slightly, to 86 percent; yet 55 percent of the group admitted on occasion they’ve simply rinsed, without using soap.

Just remember…

THE U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION SAYS …

HAND WASHING IS CRITICAL IN PREVENTING ILLNESS!!!

Only a few days ago a few more swine flu facts were described by World Health Organisation Director General Margaret Chan in an interview:

“…This virus [H1N1 influenza A] travels at an unbelievable, almost unheard of speed. In six weeks it travels the same distance that other viruses take six months to cover. … Sixty percent of the deaths cover those who have underlying health problems. This means that 40 percent of the fatalities concern young adults – in good health – who die of a viral fever in five to seven days. This is the most worrying fact, up to 30 percent of people in densely populated countries risked getting infected …While 90 percent of severe and fatal cases occur in people aged above 65 in seasonal flu, most of those who die from swine flu are under the age of 50.”

MORE DETAILS AVAILABLE AT:

Hands on ‘hand hygiene’!
Swine flu prevention is a matter of ‘hand hygiene’!
Hand Hygiene: warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands!
More hand hygiene news!

Skin care: hand washing and applying hand cream takes 9 steps!

Hand hygiene is the first step towards swine flu prevention!

Hand hygiene is the first step towards swine flu prevention!

Swine flu prevention is a matter of ‘hand hygiene’!

Last week it became official: the UK and US government recommend ‘hand hygiene’ as the first step in swine flu prevention. And last wednesday Barack Obama told the American people:

‘Wash your hands’!

Applying hand hygiene: what does that really mean?

Let’s take a look at what is need for HAND HYGIENE!!”

THE 10 COMMANDMENTS FOR ‘HAND HYGIENE’!

– 1 –
“Wash your hands regularly with soap and water water,
do not forget to scrub between your fingers
and the back of your hands!”

– 2 –
“Use paper wipes for drying your hands,
no warm air dryers!”

– 3 –
“Do not touch food before washing your hands!”

– 4 –
“When sneezing use a tissue,
and throw the tissue away
quickly and carefully!”

– 5 –
“When coughing use a tissue, not your hands!”

– 6 –
“Do not put your fingers in your mouth,
do not bite your fingernails!”

– 7 –
“Do not shake hands, and avoid the fist bump!”

– 8 –
“After shaking hands or other skin contact,
wash your hands as soon as possible!”

– 9 –
“Avoid touching objects in public spaces!”

– 10 –
“When using antimicrobial/antiseptic soap,
combine with using hand oil/lotion,
to avoid dry hand injuries!”

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

Swine flu prevention is a matter of ‘hand hygiene’!
A kiss is healthier than a handshake!
Your health is in your hands!
warning: why hand sanitizers may increase risk of swine flu exposure!
How to stop the swine flu? No handshaking, try Barack Obama’s fist bump!

Clean hands save lives: hand hygiene is the key to prevent a swine flue pandemic.

On july 14, swine flue was reported to hit the Bassetlaw region with three suspected cases of swine flue (Influenza A – H1N1), and in at least one of those cases a nine-year-old child at Worksop’s St John’s Primary School was confirmed to be suffering from the disease. On july 23 ‘National Pandemic Flu Service (NPFS)’ was launched featured with the simple advice ‘CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT’ – and within a few hours the website crashed due to its popularity. On july 25 – last saturday – sales of hand gel had rocket in Worksop due to the swine flue fears.

What can you do?

To help limit the spread, wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water. Antibacterial, alcohol hand gels can stop the virus. When sneezing, catch all droplets in a clean tissue and dispose in a bin immediately. If you are diagnosed with swine flu, stay at home. Adults are generally infectious to others for five days, children for seven days. Do not go to work until all of the symptoms have cleared and you are fully recovered.

According the ‘National Pandemic Flu Service’ the basic rules to prevent from being affected by the disease are:

“- Covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using a tissue when possible;

– Disposing of dirty tissues promptly and carefully;

– Maintaining good basic hygiene, for example washing hands frequently with soap and water to reduce the spread of the virus from our hands to face or to other people;

– Cleaning hard surfaces (e.g. door handles) frequently using a normal cleaning product;

– Making sure your children follow this advice.”

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:

A kiss is healthier than a handshake!
Hand Hygiene: warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands!
The swine flu etiquette: use good hand hygiene, no handshaking, no mask, to prevent a pandemic!
Hand Hygiene: warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands!

Healthy handwashing: how to get your hands clean.

In May 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) has presented new guidelines for hand hygiene and handwashing. The guidelines were targeted at hospital administrators, public health officials, and healthcare workers (HCWs).

The new guidlines are designed to be used in any setting in which healthcare is delivered either to a patient or to a specific group, including all settings where healthcare is permanently or occasionally performed. Details are presented for the following: hand hygiene indications, hand hygiene techniques, selecting hand hygiene agents, recommendations for skin care + glove use, and surgical hand preperation.

A few quotes from the new WHO guidlines:

“• When washing hands, wet hands with water and apply enough soap to cover all surfaces; rinse hands with water and dry thoroughly with a single-use towel. Whenever possible, use clean, running water. Avoid hot water, which may increase the risk for dermatitis.

• Liquid, bar, leaf, or powdered soap is acceptable; bars should be small and placed in racks that allow drainage.

• When using alcohol based handrub, rub a palmful of alcohol-based handrub over all hand surfaces until dry.

• Soap and alcohol-based handrub should not be used together.”

SUGGESTIONS FOR READING MORE ABOUT HAND HYGIENE:

Hand hygiene: warm air dryers increase bacteria on hands!
A kiss is healthier than a handshake!