Tag Archives: hand hygiene

Can the holidays make you sick?

What makes us get sick more often during the holiday season?

Many theories have been postulated and studied over the years and many factors are blamed for being virus enablers. Closer proximity of hosts (us) within closed spaces makes transmission easier due to the shared air we breathe while indoors and the common surfaces we touch as people share confined areas. Further, foods are presented and ingested in areas with higher germ populations due to the foregoing.

Other theories suggest that inactivity and depression generally increases with the cold and gloomy weather and this coupled with decreased exposure to the sun may tend to inhibit our immune systems.

We suspect that all of these factors and more contribute to the seasonal spike in illnesses. But, there are some commons sense actions that can help reduce your chances of being the next holiday (infection) host. The most effective way to reduce your risks of seasonal sickness is to wash your hands often, especially after shaking hands, touching surfaces in common areas such as handrails and countertops and especially before eating.

In the spirit of holiday cheer (and microbial fear) check out these funny new flu and handwashing posters meant to remind with mirth and good cheer.

Healthy holidays to all.


New Flu & Handwashing Posters

 

Image of flu close up by cdc.gov.

Government Study Says You’re Washing Your Hands the Wrong Way

…Which Is Gross and You Should Fix It

Hey, did you wash your hands recently? Well, you probably did it wrong. CNN pointed out a recent government study found that 97 percent of the time, people fail to properly wash their hands—a problem that can lead to all sorts of unnecessary illnesses being spread.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, people are falling short of meeting the standards for acceptable handwashing set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bar to make sure your hands are sufficiently clean requires you to wash and scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds.

The study looked at 363 people in six kitchen test facilities located in the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina and in the town of Smithfield, North Carolina. What it found was nearly every person working in the kitchens failed to reach the handwashing standard set by the CDC, which is probably not reassuring if you’re currently out to eat at a restaurant in Tar Heel State.

Read on Gizmodo

GlitterBug handwashing products

By AJ Dellinger / gizmodo.com

Moments when you should wash your hands

Certain events, actions or circumstances can make handwashing more important. For example, after being in public places, or handling often-touched objects like handrails and doorknobs, before preparing food, before eating and after using the rest-room. When possible it is best to avoid touching moist areas of your body such as eyes, nose and mouth unless you first wash your hands. Further, it is advisable to wash your hands after touching those areas. Germs most often travel by climbing aboard hands until they find a good opportunity to jump off into food we consume or directly into the portals of our bodies (mouth, nose and eyes etc.). Before helping these bugs find the greener pastures and making us sick send them down the drain.

cdc.gov/handwashing

GlitterBug handwashing products

Prevention always starts with good hand hygiene

Searching for the cause of an E Coli outbreak can send investigators in many different directions. This is a reminder that good hand hygiene practices and proper food preparation are of utmost importance. E Coli can be found in contaminated soil or water but it can also be spread through infected people. Germs that make us sick are everywhere and while we cannot always control where or how our food is grown we can control how we prepare it and make sure our hands are clean when doing so. Check out these links to the latest news on the Romain lettuce E Coli outbreak and the CDC which both reference person-to-person contact and the importance of hand washing.

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Germs Don’t Take Summer Vacations

Phew! We made it through the worst of the cold and flu season! With summer around the corner though, there is more waiting for us than just sunshine and snow cones. Playgrounds, water parks and amusement parks are full of fun, but also full of germs. Make sure to use good hand hygiene to make the most of your summertime adventures without taking home the wrong kind of souvenir. Check out Brevis.com for fun and creative reminders you can share with family and friends about the importance of keeping their hands clean this summer. Read more about summertime germ precautions.

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A virus spreads in just 2 hours. Why the war on germs is in your hands.

Germs are everywhere. In optimal conditions a virus can divide every 20 minutes, spreading rapidly where they dwell. In fact, contamination of a single doorknob can lead to the spread of viruses throughout an office building or hotel in as little as two hours.

Researchers from the University of Arizona, Tucson, placed a tracer virus on commonly touched objects such as a doorknob or tabletop. At multiple time intervals (from two-to-eight hours) the researchers sampled a range of surfaces including light switches, bed rails, countertops, sink tap handles, and push buttons. And guess what? Nearly 60 percent of the surfaces were contaminated within two-to-four hours.

“If we placed a tracer virus on the push plate to an office building, it ended up on almost 50 percent of the high-touch surfaces of officer workers’ hands within four hours,” says study author and microbiologist Charles Gerba, PhD. “In the case of the hotel, we placed the virus on the nightstand in one room, and it was spread to the next four rooms by the maid during cleaning.” Also, the first item to become contaminated in the workplace was the coffee pot handle. Other contamination hot spots are phones, computers, and desktops.

Of course, our own bodies play host to around 100 trillion microbes that together weigh more than two pounds. They are present on our skin, in our guts, in the crooks of our elbows, and just about everywhere else. Your immune system protects against most microorganisms, but there are hundreds of thousands of different kinds of germs, and some of them are good at mutating into things your body doesn’t recognize. And they make you sick.

To get an idea of just how many microbes we carry—and which ones spread fastest—researchers are even testing our most intimate possessions: our cell phones. In a small study, University of Oregon scientists tested the index fingers and thumbs of 17 subjects, along with the touchscreens of their smartphones. As you might expect, they found an 82 percent overlap between the most common types of bacteria found on participants’ fingers and on their phones.

So your cell phone is covered with a personal bacterium cocktail? Clean it with a soft cloth dampened with water and wipe it down, or use a disposable wipe made specifically for cleaning electronic screens. Use a cotton swab to get the dirt and grime out of small nooks in the phone. The same goes for all of your other gadgets, too, including remote controls, headphones and ear buds, your computer keyboard, mouse, and tablet screen.

Yes, the war on germs is in your hands. Handwashing is the number one way to prevent the spread of germs and illness. Just make sure you’re doing it right. Friction (especially between the fingers) and duration—20 seconds with running water—are both important. And anything your hands touch are carriers. Learn all about handwashing here.

Here’s something else to think about: On average, an office desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. It’s not surprising; the toilet is cleaned regularly. And remote controls, computer keyboards, phones, and iPods get touched way more than the toilet. Multiple coworkers and guest also share them—yet they are cleaned less often. You can find component-specific cleaning supplies at electronics stores. However, most disinfecting wipes are safe for electronics—just make sure to read the label before using them.

This one seems obvious, but how often do you walk around your home or office and wipe off doorknobs, cabinet handles, and light switches? You really should give them a once-over using disinfecting wipes—and don’t use the same wipe for more than a few places before grabbing a fresh one.

It’s easy to keep things clean. Soap and water. Bleach and water. Disinfecting wipes. Common sense. With these simple weapons, the battle against germs can be won. But the first step is you. Now go wash your hands!

Flu Posters

Hand-Washing Dance Viral Video

 

Hand washing dance Indonesia 🙂

Hand washing dance, from Indonesia

Posted by DrKnowledge on Saturday, August 19, 2017


Just in time for the back-to-school season, a group called Dr. Knowledge has released a video on Facebook about handwashing. Aimed at a younger audience, the video features five doctors dressed in scrubs in a choreographed routine demonstrating proper handwashing techniques.

The message from these doctors in Indonesia is a fresh take on educating kids on the importance of handwashing, and the video has quickly gone viral.

For more resources in helping kids learn the importance of handwashing, check out the Brevis Child Education Collection, including the Germbusters Starter Set, coloring pages, and a variety of reward stickers!   

 

Sources:

https://www.ecr.co.za/shows/east-coast-breakfast/watch-doctors-hand-washing-dance-goes-viral/

https://www.facebook.com/DrknowledgeMedicine/videos/vb.538418383006329/787546511426847/?type=2&theater=&sw_fnr_id=1380710349&fnr_t=0

https://www.brevis.com/child-education

https://www.brevis.com/products/133159/ggset001-germbusters-starter-set-the-basic-set-to?ref=/child-education

https://www.brevis.com/products/544209/gbsclr01-germbusterscoloringpages-for-k1-contains?ref=/child-education

https://www.brevis.com/products/340314/gbs2la50-germbuster-ii-stickers?ref=/child-education

APIC 2017 Film Festival Winner: “Look at Me Hand Hygiene”

APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, announced the winner of its seventh annual Film Festival competition. The video, “Look at Me Hand Hygiene,” was created by Providence Health & Services Alaska, and stresses proper handwashing hygiene and techniques for hospital visitors and staff.

The video was chosen for its inventiveness, originality, general appeal, significance to the infection prevention community, and educational message.

The music video highlights the importance of thorough hand washing, stressing that hands should be washed for 20-25 seconds.

It also outlines W.L.S.R.D., which is  “wet, lather, scrub, rinse, dry,” as the basic steps for hand hygiene and infection prevention.

You can view all of the video submissions on the APIC website.

Brevis has also created multiple educational videos around hand hygiene. You can see them below.

Source: http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2017/06/apic-2017-film-festival-winner-highlights-hand-hygiene-as-infection-prevention-tool.aspx

 

 

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.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/07/health/flu-pandemic-sanjay-gupta/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm