Flu Pandemic: On Its Way?

Are you a germophobe quiz


When we think of the flu we tend to think of the seasonal flu, the one that arrives in the fall and hangs around through spring, the virus for which we get our annual flu shot.


When we think of a pandemic, we think of a crisis situation, a worldwide outbreak.


Is a pandemic flu even possible? Not only is it possible, it’s happened before. And according to an article by CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, it will happen again in the next 20 to 30 years.  


In 1918 the Spanish Flu caused 20% to 40% of the world’s population to fall ill, and more than 50 million people died. The Asian Flu killed 2 million in 1958-59. The Hong Kong Flu resulted in the death of a million people, 34,000 of which were in the United States, between September, 1968, and March, 1969.


The good news is, we’re better prepared than we have been in the past. The ability to quickly identify viruses, and develop and produce vaccines has seen vast improvement in recent years. The most ideal situation to be prepared for the worst would mean partnerships between governments, collaboration between the private and public sectors, adequate research and funding, as well as the general acceptance and recognition of the likelihood of a flu pandemic in our lifetime. With these in place, it would be fitting to quote epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who lead the effort to eradicate Small Pox: pandemics can be optional.

Of course, whether you find yourself with flu (seasonal flu is still around in spring months!) or if you’re simply trying to avoid getting sick, remember to wash your hands properly with soap and water to prevent the spread of germs, or use an antibacterial hand rub (sanitizer). Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth is another way to avoid spreading germs, and when you’re sick, stay home as much as possible.





Hand Washing in Many Languages

Accurate communication is crucial in providing health services. Employees in hospitals, clinics, and community health centers need to be able to reach individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) through language and understanding of culture.


One helpful resource is HealthReach, which provides quality multilingual, multicultural public health information for those who provide health care for individuals with LEP. Brochures, videos, toolkits, reports, and fact sheets are available to help improve the quality of service and communication efforts between providers and patients.


Hand washing, of course, is crucial in protecting ourselves and others from illness. This 4-page handout explains in detail the proper procedure for washing with soap and water (and drying!), and also using sanitizer, in both English and Traditional Chinese.



Having the instructions in both languages ensures clarity for both parties in communicating information as central to health as hand hygiene.


More information is available, including information available for print or download in more than 15 languages, at https://www.healthinfotranslations.org/.  







Spring Cleaning for hand hygiene: sanitizing the areas we touch most often

Spring Cleaning brevis
It’s that time of year again, time for spring cleaning! For you this might mean cleaning out your garage, or a complete closet overhaul. Whatever your situation, spring cleaning is also a great time for a routine deep-cleaning of some of the spots in your home most likely to accumulate germs.


It may not surprise you to know that a high concentration of germs is likely to be found in areas we frequently touch with our hands. We know washing our hands is the best way to prevent the spread of infection, so it’s easy to understand the need for cleanliness in areas we often touch with our hands.


Here are just five:


Bathroom Sinks Some studies suggest bathroom sinks are often dirtier than toilet seats! Use an antibacterial spray for a five-minute soak before wiping it down, and polish handles and spouts with vinegar.


Kitchen Countertops Before using and after meal prep, make sure your workspace is clean. How you clean it depends on the kind of countertop you have. While you’re at it, pay special attention to corners, and also any appliances you use.


Doorknobs and Drawer Handles Whether you’re coming in from outside or taking the trash out, a whole world of germs is daily introduced to doorknobs. Again, your cleaning method depends on the kind of knobs and handles you have (brass and silver, for example, require special cleaners), but clean these areas weekly.


Switchplates Turning a light on or off can be done in under one second, but think about how often we do this throughout the day. Use a warm, wet cloth with dish soap to clean switch plates once per week.


Devices and Screens These might be the most-touched– and least-cleaned– items in most homes. Do not get electronics wet while cleaning; when a damp cloth is needed, be sure to immediately dry. Use canned air or a microfiber cloth for keyboards. Touchscreen wipes can be used on cellphones and other screens.


If you haven’t already begun your spring cleaning, these are some good places to start. Keeping these areas clean reduces re-contamination of your hands.






Photo courtesy of Pixabay:


New Tool in Hand Hygiene: Kohler’s Touchless Soap Dispenser

NEW Tool in Hand Hygiene: Kohler's Touchless Soap Dispenser

We at Brevis are natural proponents of tools used to increase the effectiveness of hand hygiene. Our GlitterBug Gel and GlitterBug Potion, together with our disclosure centers, do an excellent job of teaching proper handwashing technique and effectiveness. Our Hand and Nail Scrub Brush is ideal for hard-to-clean areas. We even have a Handwash Instruction Manual for quick reference.


Kohler, a global leader in kitchen and bath design and technology, has recently launched their “first-to-market” Touchless Soap Dispenser. In addition to a customizable setting selection for liquid or foaming soap, the dispenser features an LED light which illuminates for 20 seconds– the amount of time the CDC recommends for hand washing– before turning off.


A sensor on the dispenser preserves battery life and prevents soap from being wasted. A rubber ring on the bottom helps stabilize the dispenser on the countertop while also protecting the battery compartment. An anti-drip spout prevents soap from dripping onto the counter. It’s no wonder the Touchless Soap Dispenser is a winner of the 2017 Global Innovations Award, honoring housewares for product design excellence.

Brevis welcomes innovative handwashing products and applauds Kohler for It’s thoughtfully designed Touchless Soap Dispenser. Brevis products and soap working hand-in-hand to prevent the spread of disease.










Scrub Club

An elementary school in Michigan has had a very interesting school year so far, resulting in more handwashing among the students.


A group of parents noticed frequent student illnesses; one child was sick eight times last fall, more than he’d gotten sick in previous years. His mother enlisted the involvement of other parents and the school principal to encourage frequent handwashing. Thus, the Scrub Club was born.


Each class has been given a caddy with a soap dispenser, refill soap bottle, laminated poster with handwashing instructions, and nail brush for use by the students. The class to use the most soap by the end of the week wins a pizza party, plus a $20 gift card for the teacher to use for the classroom.


While it’s too early to have concrete results from the Scrub Club initiative, it seems to have had successful effects. Teachers report fewer boxes of facial tissue being used, an indication of less sickness. And nearly all students say they are now more aware of the benefits of handwashing.


One second-grade teacher performed a memorable experiment, pretending to sneeze into her hand while covering that hand with red glitter. Giving the students high-fives and pats on the back resulted in the spread of the red glitter, which the teacher explained represents the spread of germs.


We love that glitter experiment and recommend using GlitterBug products to continue emphasizing the importance of handwashing to children and adults alike!





Patient and physician co-washing may increase clinic hand washing


And partnership.

We know that when we have both, good things usually occur.

The March/April 2017 issue of the Annals of Family Medicine discusses a new approach to outpatient hand washing involving that involves both partnership and accountability: patient and physician co-washing.

And preliminary studies show that this practice may increase hand washing.

Gregory A. Doyle, M.D. (from West Virginia University in Morgantown), and his colleagues tested a new approach involving patient and physician hand washing.
Clinicians offered sanitizer to the patient and used the sanitizer to wash their own hands in front of the patient.
Data were included from 384 questionnaires: 184 from phase 1 (pre-intervention) and 200 from phase 2 (post-intervention).

The researchers found that, according to patients, doctors washed their hands 96.6 and 99.5 percent of the time before examining them pre-intervention and post-intervention, respectively.

Overall, 98.7 percent of the time patients endorsed the importance of hand washing.

“Further research is recommended to determine whether ‘co-washing’ enhances clinic hand washing or hand washing at home by patients, and whether it can reduce infection rates,” the authors write.

Want more information about hand hygiene and overall health? Check out these book at brevis.com!

Watch the First Annual GlitterBug Idol Handwashing Contest sponsored by Brevis Corporation!

Did you know the mouth is the dirtiest part of the body.

A close second?

The hands.

Recently, Brevis sponsored the first first annual “Glitterbug Idol” handwashing competition.

“The goal is to educate everyone,” said Barry Short from Brevis , the company that organized this year’s inaugural event. “Most people think they’re a pro at hand washing after several years, but that is rarely the case.”



When they’re done washing, contestants rub their hands with GlitterBug Potion. Their hands are checked under a blacklight, which reveals residue of the lotion and, thus, any spots they’ve not cleaned.

It’s amazing how many spots are missed, Short points out. “Sometimes they’ll get the harder spots and forget the obvious, like the backs of their hands,” he says.


GlitterBug Gel and GlitterBug Potion are excellent products to aid in teaching proper hand hygiene to kids and adults alike.

Both are intended to show how effective your current hand-cleaning methods are, and in turn, both products teach better techniques for hand-washing.


Do you have any other fun ideas for teaching hand hygiene? Please comment below!