Tag Archives: handwashing

Infection Prevention Awareness Worldwide

 

 

 

In early 2020, a simple online hand-washing demonstration went viral. The video, created by a restaurateur in India and imitated by health-care professionals and breakfast-television hosts around the world, showed a pair of hands in clean disposable gloves receiving a glob of children’s paint in one palm. The hands then went through all the motions of correct hand washing and, in the end, the gloves were fully coated with paint.

This message, and others like it, have helped to make 2020 a golden year for infection-prevention awareness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, public-health officials have reached the masses with their messages about how to avoid infection. Now, having seen how various nations have dutifully scrubbed, sanitized and distanced their way to try to bring down the number of coronavirus cases, researchers and public-health specialists are keen to keep the momentum going for another reason: to stall the spread of infections that are becoming resistant to antimicrobial drugs.

Prevention first

Antimicrobial resistance is a threat to human life that exceeds that posed by COVID-19 by orders of magnitude. Unless practices change, by 2050, an estimated 10 million people will be dying every year as a result of resistant bacteria1. Antibiotics are common treatments for illnesses — whether or not they are caused by bacteria. A 2016 analysis showed that only about 70% of antibiotic prescriptions in US hospitals were appropriate2. And a systematic review of reports published between 1970 and 2009 on non-prescription use of antimicrobials showed that the drugs were frequently used to treat non-bacterial diseases3. Unsurprisingly, it also found that resistant bacteria were common in communities with high levels of non-prescription use. The resistant bacteria then spread from person to person through surfaces such as mobile phones.

 

Preventing infection is an important facet of nearly all programmes designed to promote effective use of antibiotics, an area known as antimicrobial stewardship. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global efforts to preserve the effectiveness of antibiotics must include strategies for preventing any infection that might be treated with the drugs, whether justifiably or not. Teena Chopra, an infectious-disease specialist at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan, is fully behind this approach. Because infections are difficult to diagnose and treat quickly, Chopra says that the biggest impact will come from preventing infections in the community, not just in hospitals.

Pandemic lessons

Christina Vandenbroucke-Grauls, a medical microbiologist at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, chairs a group that monitors hospital outbreaks of resistant bacteria in the Netherlands. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, such infections have almost disappeared in the country, she says. “Apparently, people are a lot more careful.” The sharp reduction could be because hospital staff are more diligent about hand washing — and many suspect that this is also the case elsewhere.

Infection-control messages have been effective outside hospital settings, too. Many countries have seen a fall in the number of non-COVID-19 infections, such as seasonal influenza. In Australia, for instance, fewer people have died from flu this year compared with 2019. And Sweden declared the end of its flu season almost two months earlier than usual, despite its controversial light-touch approach to managing the spread of COVID-19.

Chopra is keen to keep this hygiene momentum going and points out that the pandemic has revealed considerable weak spots. “This COVID-19 pandemic exposed a lot of vulnerabilities in our core health infrastructure,” she says. “We dealt with a lack of infection control in alternative health-care settings, like nursing homes, schools, daycare centres, dialysis centres, nursing facilities and rehab facilities.” She thinks that those who run these services need to have a more prominent role in antimicrobial stewardship.

To help manage COVID-19, Chopra recruited medical students to assist with prevention efforts in residential care facilities in Detroit. They coordinated the regular testing of residents for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and showed the staff how to group infected individuals together to contain any outbreaks. Community-level interventions have also been crucial in other parts of the world for slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Better behaviours

Without such measures, people will continue to transfer microbes to each other. The risk of transmission can be limited by using microbe-destroying surfaces such as copper, and through rigorous disinfection with chemicals and exposure to ultraviolet light. However, such measures can be difficult to implement in communities. The only two universally effective methods are hand hygiene and staying away from others, Chopra says. “Hand hygiene is the cornerstone — not only in the hospital but everywhere.”

These strategies might seem simple, but they require people to change their behaviour, and that is easier said than done. Garth Graham at the University of Connecticut in Hartford, who developed the first US national plan to reduce health disparities, says: “Understanding of risk is the first step to getting people to adopt behaviours that help prevent infections.” In 2003, for example, people changed their behaviour by washing their hands more frequently and cleaning surfaces to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus once they understood the risk. Conversely, a lack of awareness of the effect of infections such as measles and polio has contributed to a growing hesitancy by some to vaccinate.

But after people understand the risk, says Graham, they then need information on how to change their behaviour effectively. And, he says, the campaigns that provide this information need to come from a trusted source and be tailored to the target group. “Some people trust government entities. Some trust their local physician. Some people trust their church,” he says.

In 2009, for example, a public-health team designed a hand-washing campaign called Hands up for Max! The team distributed posters to primary schools in the United Kingdom demonstrating the correct way to wash hands and distributed stickers to pupils. By contrast, a campaign run by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) targeted parents using downloadable posters and social media posts with the hashtag #KeepHandsClean to drive home the message that family hand washing is an easy and effective way to prevent illness. “Public-health messaging starts with years of understanding the local infrastructure and the local community. Local organizations that have built trust for a long time with the target group are the most effective messengers.”

Chopra thinks that communities will now make permanent changes to keep infections at bay. “How we function, how we talk to each other, how we greet each other — all of that is going to change,” she says. Indeed, Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, has already declared the end of the handshake.

A broader view

Fervent measures aimed at preventing infection can come with downsides, however. Corinne Hohl, an emergency-medicine physician at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, who leads the Canadian COVID-19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network, points out that deaths unrelated to COVID-19 have increased during the pandemic in Canada and some other countries. Although the exact reason is not certain, physicians suggest that people might be choosing not to access emergency services because of fears that they might contract the coronavirus by leaving their homes.

In many parts of the world, behavioural change is unlikely to make a significant difference by itself. In some low-income countries, managing infection rates will require considerable investment in infrastructure. The WHO says that 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to proper latrines, increasing the risk of bacterial infections that cause diarrhoea. Antibiotics can be seen as a quick fix to deal with deficits in basic infrastructure. India, which has one of the world’s highest rates of antimicrobial resistance, launched a country-wide initiative in 2014, with the goals of building toilets and stopping groups from manually collecting faeces for disposal.

Preventing infection is not an insignificant challenge, but perhaps now more than ever, the world is ready to talk about doing so. “I think infection control will generate, for a few years at least, much more interest,” says Vandenbroucke-Grauls. The coronavirus has brought an opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of infectious diseases as a cause of death. In the era of vaccines and broadly effective antibiotic medicines, Vandenbroucke-Grauls says, “this might be a kind of wake-up call for people — they shouldn’t think infectious diseases are a thing of the past”.

 

To view the article in its entirety, please click on the link below to be redirected. Thank you.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02885-2

 

How To Wash Your Hands Correctly

How do I wash my hands correctly?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them, and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet, and then throw it away.

How do I clean my hands without soap or water?
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your until your hands are dry.

Take a minute and enjoy the brief informational hand-washing video

Good Handwashing Is the BEST way to stay healthy

 

 

How To Wash Your Hands Correctly

How do I wash my hands correctly?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them, and use a paper towel to turn off the faucet, and then throw it away.

How do I clean my hands without soap or water?
If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your until your hands are dry.

Take a minute and enjoy the brief informational hand-washing video

Good Handwashing Is the BEST way to stay healthy

 

 

Hand-washing (aka hand-hygiene) Helps Stop The Spread Of Germs

HAVE YOU TAKEN A 20 – 30 SECOND HAND-WASHING BREAK?

Correct hand-washing technique keeps you and others safe:

 

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

WHEN TO WASH YOUR HANDS:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after patient care in any setting
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet and before exiting the restroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage
  • After visiting an outpatient setting (Physicians office/Dentist office/Clinic)
  • After shopping
  • Before and after handling food
  • After traveling on public transportation
  • Any any time hands are soiled

 

What is the difference?
Hand hygiene . A general term that applies to either
handwashing, antiseptic handwash, antiseptic hand rub, or
surgical hand antisepsis.
Handwashing . Washing hands with plain (i.e., non-antimi-
crobial) soap and water.
Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings
Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices
Advisory Committee and the HICPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA
Hand Hygiene Task Force
Vol. 51 / RR-16
Activity of Antiseptic Agents Against
Spore-Forming Bacteria
The widespread prevalence of health-care–associated diarrhea                                                            caused by Clostridium difficile and the recent occurrence
in the United States of human Bacillus anthracis infections                                                                    associated with contaminated items sent through the postal
system has raised concern regarding the activity of antiseptic
agents against spore-forming bacteria. None of the agents
(including alcohols, chlorhexidine, hexachlorophene,
iodophors, PCMX, and triclosan) used in antiseptic handwash
or antiseptic hand-rub preparations are reliably sporicidal
against Clostridium spp. or Bacillus spp. (120,172,224,225).
Washing hands with non-antimicrobial or antimicrobial soap
and water may help to physically remove spores from the sur-
face of contaminated hands. HCWs should be encouraged
to wear gloves when caring for patients with
C. difficile – associated diarrhea (226). After gloves are removed, hands
should be washed with a non-antimicrobial or an antimicro-
bial soap and water or disinfected with an alcohol-based hand
rub. During outbreaks of C. difficile-related infections, washing                                                              hands with a non-antimicrobial or antimicrobial soap and
water after removing gloves is prudent. HCWs with suspected
or documented exposure to B. anthracis-contaminated items also should be encouraged to wash their hands with a non-antimicrobial or antimicrobial soap and water

C. difficile Prevention

 

 

 

Prevention:

  • Hand-washing. Health care workers, visitors, and patients all  should practice good hand hygiene (aka hand-washing)  before and after care, before and after entering the patient’s room, before and after eating, before exiting a restroom, before and after treatments, after changing diapers, before and after handling food, after visiting shopping centers and visiting the gym.  In the event of a C. diff. outbreak, using soap and warm water is proven effective in hand washing as studies have proven alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not effective destroying C. diff. spores.
  • Contact precautions. People who are hospitalized with C. diff. have a private room or share a room with someone who has the same illness. Hospital staff and visitors follow the infection control guidelines and wear disposable gloves and gowns while in the room, and removed before leaving the patient’s room.
  • Environmental cleaning. All high-touch non-porous surfaces should be carefully disinfected with a product that contains chlorine bleach and/or a product that has been EPA registered and has the C. diff. kill.  The Clostridium difficile spores can survive routine cleaning products that don’t contain bleach.
  • * * * * * *  Avoid unnecessary use of antibiotics.  This matter can not be stressed enough worldwide.  The Center of Disease Control and Prevention have issued an updated report in March 2014 regarding the use of Antibiotics and providing Physicians pertinent information with the limiting usage of Antibiotics for viruses.  The reports have found that sometimes Antibiotics are prescribed to treat viral illnesses that aren’t helped by these drugs, and can lead to Antibiotic resistance and super-bugs.  When symptoms linger/worsen and do not improve – please contact the Physician to report. If an Antibiotic is needed to treat the symptoms, the Physician/Healthcare professional will assess the symptoms and prescribe as indicated.