Does washing your hands reduce the risks of infections in home and in the community? (COVID-19)
Amid the coronavirus pandemic I thought I would write a quick article to help spread information about how hand hygiene can be effective in reducing the spread of infections amongst our community.
WHAT IS THE CORONAVIRUS?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause respiratory infections. These can range from the common cold to more serious diseases such as pneumonia.
COVID-19 is the disease caused by a new coronavirus and was first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have revealed that maintaining appropriate hand hygiene in is a pre-requisite for infection control.
Failure to perform appropriate hand hygiene practices is a leading cause of the spread of multiresistant organisms and has been recognised as a significant contributor to outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Hand washing with soap can prevent infection in patients and is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent transmission of diseases and bacteria. In a study conducted on medical students it was found that washing hands with soap and water decreased the amount of bacteria on hands from 44% down to 8% compared to no handwashing. Overall, the consensus research shows that there is a strong causal link between hand hygiene and the spread of infection in the home and community. This suggest that the single most important route for the spread of infection is the hands.
WHAT IS PROPER HAND HYGEINE?
Appropriate hand hygiene isn't just about washing your hands... but also WHEN to wash your hands and HOW to wash your hands.
When you should wash your hands:
- after using the toilet (or disposing of human or animal feces)
- after changing a baby’s diaper and disposing of the feces
- immediately after handling raw food (eg, chicken, raw meat)
- before preparing and handling cooked/ready-to-eat food
- before eating food or feeding children
- but also d after contact with contaminated surfaces (eg, rubbish bins, cleaning cloths, food contaminated surfaces)
- after handling pets and domestic animals
- after wiping or blowing the nose or sneezing into the hands
- after handling soiled tissues (self or others’, eg, children)
- after contact with blood or body fluids (eg, vomit and others)
- before and after dressing wounds; d
- before giving care to an ‘‘at-risk’’ person
- after giving care to an infected person
How you should wash your hands:
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
In order to slow down the spread of COVID-19 we all have to play our role in reducing the likelihood of transmitting the virus amongst each other.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching surfaces for at least 20 seconds - Bring your own towel and wear socks if going to the gym - Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth - If you're feeling unwell, please stay at home and take rest
Together we can all make a difference! #flattenthecurve