SHOCKING: You won’t BELIEVE how many GERMS are on your hands!!! – so we thought we’d share some useful stuff about good hand hygiene practice on Clean Your Hands Day
The amount of bacteria found on the average human hand is alarming to the uninitiated.
According to research from the University of Colorado at Boulder, on average we carry 3,200 bacteria from 150 different species on our hands. The types of bacteria on our hands are also very diverse according to Dr Noah Fierer, who led the study.
However, in the inimitable words of Corporal Jones, ‘don’t panic Mr Mannering!’ – It’s perfectly natural to carry bacteria on our bodies. Each person’s bacterial “fingerprint” is apparently unique.
However, these statistics do highlight the importance of good quality hand hygiene, as not having the right tools, knowledge or the correct technique can lead to the spread of dangerous bacterial infections including Sepsis, food poisoning and Meningitis.
But the good news is that hand hygiene, when performed correctly, is widely acknowledged to be the SINGLE most important activity that reduces the spread of infection.
You may have noticed we use the phrase ‘hand hygiene’ rather than ‘hand washing’ – this is because we believe that there are actually 4 key stages to quality hand hygiene:
Hand cleansing – this fundamental step in hand hygiene not only removes any visible soiling from hands but also the physical action of good hand washing technique, with a minimum contact time of 20-30 seconds, will remove high levels of bacteria and viruses present on the skin.
Hand sanitising – with an alcohol based sanitiser ( with a minimum of 60% alcohol as an active ingredient, compliant with BE EN 1500:2013) will kill germs and provide a high level of skin disinfection on visible clean hands
Hand drying – the physical action of drying hands thoroughly with an absorbent paper hand towel is important for optimum hygiene to dry hands faster, dislodge bacteria and leave hands cleaner. NB Bacteria is more easily spread via wet hands than dry ones.
Hand moisturising/rebalancing – maintaining healthy intact skin is a really important, and often overlooked, element of good hand hygiene practice and infection prevention. Moisturising will keep hands soft and supple avoiding dryness, soreness and cracking, which in turn can harbour potentially harmful bacteria, especially when hands are frequently washed.
Here are some top tips for maintaining squeaky clean hands:
- Sing whilst you’re washing!
You need to make sure you are washing your hands for a minimum contact time of 20-30 seconds, so why not have a sing along with a couple of verses of happy birthday whilst you're washing.
A lot of us forget to wash the back of our hands. Simply rub the palm of one hand over the back of the other (so it looks like you have 10 fingers and one hand) and then swap hands.
3. Don’t trust taps
Remember, the taps were turned on with your unwashed hands. To maintain cleanliness post-wash, grab a clean, dry towel and use it to turn off the taps.
4. At your fingertips
From texting to peeling an orange, our fingertips and nails are one of our most useful assets – and bacteria seems to agree. Most of the bacteria we pick up daily live on fingertips and underneath our nails meaning we should pay special attention when washing them.
5. Ignore fake facts
One myth is that bacteria don’t last longer than an hour. This is false; bacteria can be resilient. If you thought they’d fade away after a couple of hours then you’re wrong. Some bacteria can last on surfaces for several months, so it’s important to pay special attention when cleaning – especially in the kitchen.
If you would be interested in us helping you to improve any aspect of your current hand hygiene provision, then please call Beckie today on 01773 713713 or email her for more details.
We can help you with:
- A hand hygiene audit and site survey of your care home to ensure your compliancy with current best practice and guidelines
- A wide range of skin friendly hand hygiene and hair and body products to suit your needs.
- A variety of free dispensing options with free installation on 25+ dispensers
- A comprehensive range of education and training materials to help support you with hand hygiene compliance
For more information on our fit for purpose range of hand hygiene solutions and training tools please head over to our website www.hcsuk.co.uk