Most people know to wash their hands after they’ve used the bathroom or before they prepare food. This makes sense from a purely hygienic perspective and protects people from obvious risks.
First of all, consider what happens if you don’t wash your hands after you use the bathroom. Your hands might carry germs and bacteria. And every time you touch an item, these germs and bacteria might spread to that item. And then, if someone else touches the item, they might pick up the risks too. And so the germs and bacteria start to spread rapidly from person to person.
Now consider what might happen if you didn’t wash your hands before cooking. Any germs on your hands might be passed on to the food. And anyone who then eats the food would be put at risk.
So washing your hands can protect from you from numerous infections. But what are the most common ones?
Airborne illnesses can be spread as biological droplets pass through the air when, for example, people breathe, sneeze or cough. The droplets can land on people’s hands or on items that they touch. This is why hand hygiene is so important. You can see how a common cold can be passed on by touching a surface that someone has sneezed on. But did you know that careless hand hygiene can also lead to chickenpox, meningitis and influenza?
Hepatitis A can lead to jaundice, liver problems, fever, abdominal pain and fatigue. It can be spread if someone with unclean hands handles food and that food is then consumed. This is why excellent hand hygiene is essential when preparing, cooking and serving food to avoid food-borne illnesses.
Norovirus, also known as the “winter vomiting bug”, is every bit as unpleasant as it sounds. It can lead to viral gastroenteritis, affecting people at any age.
The virus can be spread by unclean hands and then spread very quickly within a group of people. Clean hands are essential in combating the spread of the virus. Therefore, make sure you wash your hand before preparing food and after using the bathroom. Also, clean your hands whenever you touch your mouth or nose.
Nosocomial infections are infections that usually occur in hospitals or other healthcare facilities. Ill patients are prone to picking up infections because their defences are weakened. And of course there is no shortage of infections in a hospital.
One of the easiest ways to pass on an infection in a hospital is via unclean hands. So all patients and staff need to ensure that they are fastidious in their hand-cleaning practices. Common nosocomial infections include E.coli and MRSA.
Careful hand hygiene is an important weapon when combating the spread of infections and germs. In workplaces, schools, shopping malls, hotels or any locations where groups of people gather, hand hygiene practices become even more important.
For more information about Initial’s infection control solutions, please feel free to contact us.