World Hand Hygiene Day is an annual event which aims to raise awareness about the importance of proper handwashing to prevent the spread of illness and infections. The day takes place on the 5th May and is organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This years’ hand hygiene campaign focuses on preventing the spread of sepsis in health care by improving hand hygiene. Sepsis affects more than 30 million patients and causes around 9 million deaths around the world each year. Most of these deaths are preventable.1 That is why the WHO is working hard to promote hand hygiene in the health care profession, as well as in everyday life. The slogan for this year’s campaign is:
‘It’s in your hands – prevent sepsis in health care’
In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at why hand hygiene is so important and why it should be taken seriously by everyone.
What Causes Sepsis?
Sepsis is caused by infections due to bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites. Bacterial infections are the most common cause and these germs can be carried on the hands. Ensuring effective hand hygiene is one of the best methods to help prevent the spread of sepsis by removing these harmful germs.
How To Ensure Hand Hygiene
The importance of effective hand hygiene cannot be over stated. Sanitising your hands is one of the best methods for preventing the spread of harmful germs. In the UK, workers in the health care sector understand that handwashing is a necessity, but sadly this is not always the case in lower income countries around the world.
A number of countries are unable to provide the necessary facilities to ensure that health care workers are washing their hands effectively. It is important to increase the availability of soap and sanitising products to allow health workers to practice good hand hygiene, and this will in turn help save lives.
Soap and sanitising supplies are something we take for granted in the UK, but these facilities are simply not available in a number of countries around the world. Despite access to hand sanitising facilities, unfortunately in many circumstances, proper hand hygiene is not always prioritised in the UK.
Hand Hygiene in the UK
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society revealed some alarming results from a study they carried out into the handwashing habits of UK adults. The study discovered that an incredible 84% of those surveyed did not wash their hands for long enough to effectively remove germs from their hands.
This shows that there is clearly a lack of understanding around how long you need to wash your hands for to remove germs amongst a high proportion of the UK population. It is therefore very important to promote effective hand hygiene and raise awareness that people must wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap.
The workplace can be one of the worst environments for the spread of germs if good hygiene practices are not enforced. It is a good idea to place a guidance poster in your company’s washrooms display the correct hand washing technique, which will help people understand how to wash their hands properly.
There are a number of other ways to increase hygiene standards around the office. Common office objects often harbour bacteria. Professor Jean-Yves Maillard conducted a study that found that 7500 bacteria lurk in the average office keyboard! This means it is a good idea to provide staff with the ability to wash their hands and clean their equipment.
Placing hand sanitiser dispensers around the office will give employees the opportunity to sanitise their hands, helping to reduce the spread of germs. Distributing antibacterial desk and equipment wipes will allow staff to clean their desk and items such as their mouse, keyboard and phone.
Actively helping staff to understand the importance of good hand hygiene will help to minimise the spread of germs, reduce sick days and increase staff productivity.
Promote Effective Hand Hygiene
It is important to promote good hand hygiene in the health sector, but also in all industries and aspects of daily life. Failure to wash your hands can lead to the spread of harmful germs and increase the risk of illness. So, on World Hand Hygiene Day, make sure you wash your hands properly and encourage others to do the same!
If you would like to find out more about Citron Hygiene’s hygiene and washroom solutions, then please contact a member of our team who will be happy to help.