Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands

20 August 2012

In the world of hygiene it's not just the surfaces around us that need regular cleaning but the two things that come into contact with a whole array of surfaces throughout the day - our hands.

We all know that we should be washing our hands at various intervals throughout the day but many of us are not cleaning our hands with the right cleaning products or using these soaps and gels at the required occasions.

wash your hands

Poor hand hygiene can lead to increased incidences of sickness and greater spread of germs and viruses to other people via hand carriage.  This is of particular consequence in public areas, such as the workplace, schools, nurseries and doctor's surgeries - the list can go on but basically any area largely populated will be a hotspot or germ transfer point - requiring increased attention to cleaning and hygiene scheduling.

Obviously germs are all around us and some are actually good for keeping our immune system working well, but catching viruses and other sickness related bugs unnecessarily and on large scale can have a knock on effect.

Businesses can be affected with staff sickness leaving them short staffed and unable to provide services to their customers, indeed staff absenteeism can cost businesses not millions but billions of pounds.  In 2011 131 million days were lost due to staff sickness.

Viking office supplies conducted research and suggested  that small businesses could be losing approximately £3.4 billion pounds over the 2011-2012 winter season due to days lost from staff sickness - studies show an increase in staff sickness absence of 27% during the winter flu season.,

Schools can experience large number s of children off sick and consequently falling behind with their studies and leading to viruses and bugs being passed onto their families at home.  Children may be excluded from nursery until their symptoms have eased causing childcare problems for their parents.

Doctors surgeries can be a major environment for germs to get together and thrive, lots of different people coming and going with germs, viruses and ailments of their own,   generally feeling under the weather and susceptible to picking up infections.  Regular use of cleaning products is essential to manage these hot spot enviroments.

It is an established fact that  80% of  germs are passed from one person to another  via hand carriage, hence our title  - Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands.

There is, however, such a simple answer to this widespread problem of cross contamination -  if we start to employ good hand hygiene routines, impressive results can be seen in a short space of time.

The department of health recently released figures showing the dramatic decline of superbugs and infections in our hospitals, attributing the downturn in the spread of viruses to the implementation of good hand hygiene practices in our hospitals.

Hospitals installed more soap dispensers and sinks for doctors, nurses, visitors to wash their hands especially near to ward entrances/exits.  Poster campaigns were launched to educate staff and public alike.  Instructions were issued to use sanitising hand gels before and after contact with each patient to stop the spread of germs and viruses from one patient to another.

Clearly hospitals need to be more vigilant than most other environments, however,  if these general principles were employed in workplaces and educational establishments  great improvements could be achieved.

So when should we be washing our hands?

  • After visiting the toilet
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after handling or preparing food
  • After handling animals and pets
  • After gardening
  • After work
  • After  sneezing or wiping our nose
  • After touching clearly dirty surfaces
  • After changing an infant's nappy
  • After dealing with bins

When we wash our hands it is important to use soap and water…not just water.  Hands should be lathered up to allow the soap to clean the palms of our hands, in between the fingers, under nails and not forgetting the top of our hands and wrists.  Experts say that we should spend around thirty seconds washing our hands and rubbing the soap in to our skin - or the time it takes to twice sing happy birthday!

Once you have rinsed your hands ideally a paper towel should be used to dry them. A cotton towel that has previously been used may be harbouring bacteria and germs.  Certainly in the workplace or public areas paper towels would be required.

Bactericidal lotion soaps should be used so to ensure that hands are hygienically clean and any germs are effectively removed during the hand washing process.  Sanitising gels are great for sanitising hands whilst on the move and a must for the healthcare sector.

More and more people are keeping a tub of hand sanitiser on their desk or in their handbag for situations where wash facilities are not close by, ensuring that they can still keep their hands clean and fresh - this is of particular benefit for those suffering with colds and flu.

It is great practice for managers responsible for the hygiene and maintenance of public buildings to ensure washroom facilities are well stocked with bactericidal lotion soaps, sanitising gels and hand drying systems.  Whilst  maintaining clean and hygienic conditions with bactericidal cleaning supplies to reduce cross contamination from general surfaces and identified germ transfer points  which the public and workforce may be having hand contact with.

Deal of the week

Our Best Sellers