The importance of hand hygiene in airports

Washroom and Hygiene

The role airports play in the spread of infectious diseases

With large numbers of people flying each year, there has been an increased rate of contagion and the spread of infectious diseases around the globe. These infections include influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and other potentially fatal flu epidemics.

It is believed that the spread of these infections, which is caused by the movement of bacteria, pathogens and viruses between infected people is accelerated in places with a high concentration of people in the same areas such as airports and airplanes. There are many surfaces in an airport that can become highly contaminated leading to the spread of disease including self-service check in screens, bag drops, gate bench arm rests, seating areas, public computers and security halls.

These outbreaks of infection can have a negative effect on global public health and also have severe socio-economic effects caused by cancellations of flights, closure of schools, people taking long periods of time off work, reduction of tourism revenue in major countries and reduction in consumption of goods and services. This can amass to an estimated loss of $330 billion to the worldwide economy! It seems that hygiene in airports is a serious issue and one that needs addressing.

Effective hand hygiene in airports

In a recent study of airport hygiene, it was found that there is a simple and cost-effective preventative way to minimise the spread of any of these potential outbreaks: good hand hygiene and hand-washing practices.

Worryingly, levels of hand washing engagement in airports is currently just 20%, meaning that 80% of people are not engaged with the fact that it is important to wash their hands after using the washroom in an airport. It is therefore vital to increase hand washing engagement among airport users and this starts with ensuring that people are educated about the importance of hand washing and have access to the right facilities in washrooms, so they can wash and dry their hands effectively to prevent the spread of germs.

How to wash hands effectively

In order to minimise the risk, hands must be washed correctly using soap and water to remove germs from hands. Washrooms users should be encouraged to use the correct hand washing routine which involves washing hands for at least 20 seconds with either warm or cold water and a liberal amount of soap. Palms of hands, in-between fingers and the back of hands should all be washed.  

Encouraging healthy hand care practices in washrooms is very important to reduce cross contamination of pathogens, germs and bacteria. Ensure you are promoting correct hand hygiene by displaying a hand washing guidance poster in your airport’s washrooms.

Providing washroom solutions to promote hand hygiene

Not only should staff and visitors to washrooms in airports be educated on correct hand washing procedures, hand hygiene facilities should be provided in your washroom to increase hand washing engagement and minimise spread potentially harmful germs.   

This includes fitting washrooms with hygienic soap dispensers that are regularly checked to ensure they are filled with soap at all times and hand drying solutions are provided to ensure that people can dry their hands effectively. Wet or damp hands spread germs, so make sure washrooms are fitted with hand dryers or paper towels in washrooms so that people can dry their hands quickly and easily after washing.

Set high hygiene standards in your washrooms with Citron Hygiene

Set a professional hygiene standard in your airport by providing effective hand hygiene facilities in your washroom with Citron Hygiene’s complete range of managed washroom services.

If you would like to find out more, then please call 0330 058 0854 and a member of our team will be happy to discuss your business’ washroom requirements.