Tag Archives: hand hygiene

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

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/.  

 

Sources:

https://healthreach.nlm.nih.gov/document/621/Hand-Washing

https://healthreach.nlm.nih.gov/about-healthreach

https://www.healthinfotranslations.org/pdfDocs/HandWashing_TCH.pdf

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.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.familycircle.com/home/cleaning/vanquish-the-germiest-spots-in-your-home-0/

https://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/


Photo courtesy of Pixabay:

https://pixabay.com/en/interior-villa-rendering-1026446/

Hand hygiene hacks—how to make hand washing fun for kids!

Good handwashing techniques are important to prevent infection.

Many adults would likely say they know how to wash their hands; after all, it’s something they’ve been doing since they were kids.

Most of these same adults would say children need to learn how to properly wash their hands.

But how do you make it fun for everyone, while preventing the spread of germs?

Check out Clutterbug‘s fun soap tutorial here:

So, now you have made it fun. But how can you tell if it was effective?

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.

Which product you need depends on how you’re cleaning your hands. If you mainly use hand sanitizer, you should use GlitterBug Gel. If you usually wash with soap and water, GlitterBug Potion is for you. 

So have fun—and be clean!

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

 

Resolving to Practice Good Hand Hygiene

 

washing-hands-1375412-1919x2379

Did you make any resolutions for the new year? January is almost over, so let’s check in: how are those resolutions going for you? If the mere thought of it made you slide down in your seat a little bit, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, 41 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 9.2 percent feel they’ve been able to be successful in keeping their resolution.

The good news is, while it’s a trendy tradition to resolve to make improvements at the beginning of the new year, it’s never too late to begin to make positive changes. Of the resolutions mentioned in the survey, the most common types were those related to self-improvement. Health-related goals are at the top of the list. So if you’re looking for a quick way to be successful in sticking to your resolutions, here’s one of the easiest and most important things you can do: resolve to practice good hand hygiene.

As we’ve heard from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), ‘Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.’ When you avoid contacting and spreading illness, you’re able to tackle those other resolutions (like getting to the gym, right?). Make a family or workplace goal to wash hands regularly so it becomes a habit. Review proper hygiene methods with GlitterBug Gel and GlitterBug Potion.

Healthy living begins with small changes made daily. Commit today to practice good hand hygiene, enjoy better overall health, and move on to those other goals that lead to a better life (and success in keeping resolutions!). Make this new year happy and healthy!

Sources:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

https://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/

http://www.brevis.com/blog/2016/08/glitterbug-gel-or-potion-that-is-the-question/

Image: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/washing-hands-1375412

What About Drying Your Hands?

Have you ever noticed someone exiting a restroom while shaking their wet hands? Is drying your hands important after you wash your hands? Maybe you’ve done it, too– you’ve taken the time to properly wash, but you’re in a hurry, and don’t want to take the extra time to get paper towels or stand near an air dryer.

Hand drying is an important part of hand hygiene, and shouldn’t be skipped. The reason is simple: germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands than dry hands.

Which method, then, should you choose? Should you dry your hands with towels (paper or otherwise), or use an air dryer? There isn’t conclusive research on this topic, as most studies compare residual microbes (not just germs) remaining on hands following different drying methods. Microbes are tiny living organisms which may or may not cause disease, and it has not been proven that removing microbes from hands is linked to better health.

What is clear, however, is the point that using a clean towel or air drying hands is the proper final step in effective hand-washing. So the next time you’re tempted to shake your hands dry or rub your hands on your clothes, pause and take the 60 seconds or so needed to face the world with clean, dry hands.

GlitterBug handwashing products

Source:
Show me the science handwashing (cdc.gov)

Back to School with GlitterBug

 

With so many kids going back to school, it’s a great time to remind everyone of the importance of washing their hands.

Who better to teach a hand-washing lesson to kids than kids themselves? Let’s see what these kids have to say.

Share the video with kids you know. Help them understand the importance of washing their hands the right way – “The GlitterBug Way.”

 

Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo: Learning the Correct Way to Wash Hands

Learning to wash your hands the right way is no laughing matter. Jimmy Kimmel wanted to make sure he was doing it right, so he reached out to Dr. Poland from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, who is a specialist in infectious disease.

Check the video out below, and then CLICK HERE to look at all the GLITTERBUG kits that can help ensure you are washing your hands correctly too!

The filthy dirty truth about handwashing and hygiene in public restrooms

hygiene habits in public restrooms

We’ve all been there: You have to “go” and you’re nowhere near home so you have a choice: shame yourself or (gasp!) use a public restroom. So you consult a phone app to find the closest clean restroom (yes, there are several apps) and enroute to your designated clean loo you strategize how to get your business done and come out unscathed. How do you get IN or OUT of the restroom without touching the door handle, for instance? Do you use your elbow? Do you grab a tissue or moist wipe from the pack you always keep handy? Same goes for the stall door. And what if the seat is in the wrong position? You can always employ the squat-and-hover method and flush the toilet with your foot.

Discussing the variations is like watching a skit on Saturday Night Live. Let’s say you flushed the toilet with your foot. Well, that means the next person might use their hands and whatever was on your shoe is now on their hands. And vice versa. You used a paper towel to open the door, but there’s no garbage to dispose of the now dirty towel…so where do you put it? And let’s say you placed your handbag or backpack on the hook on the stall door, but what was on the hook before you got there? Because you may be taking it with you. It’s a vicious cycle. Is there a solution?

After one of the largest handwashing surveys in the UK revealed some “deplorable habits” recently, a company there launched a product to promote hand hygiene and shame bad hygiene by displaying rates on screens in bathrooms. The product was piloted across different types of businesses such as education, office and retail facilities as well as other sectors where good hand hygiene is essential—and the company claims the “informal nudge” and increased peer pressure helped drive good behavior rates up dramatically. “Hand washing rates rose to 90 per cent within two days of the data being displayed, before stabilising between 80 per cent and 85 per cent.”

Of course, we never tire of handwashing discussions around here. Now, another new survey from restroom fixture manufacturer Bradley Corporation has gone and given us more fodder by covering the actions many of us take to avoid touching anything in a restroom. Sounds oddly familiar and we’re not alone: 57% of people using public restrooms operate the flusher with their foot; 55% use paper towels with the door handle; 45% open and close the door with behind (we assume that’s a hip or bum); and 69% of people use their elbows to avoid all contact in a public restroom.

We look forward to a world where 100% of respondents are washing their hands, but in the meantime we’ll take an increase in people using paper towels, elbows, feet and bums, too.  Of course, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to the state of public restrooms. In fact, an unpleasant restroom experience can create a damaging and lasting impression for a business—and that’s bad for business. According to the Bradley survey, the majority of consumers believe an unclean restroom indicates poor management (69%), lowers their opinion of the company (67% ) and signifies that the business doesn’t care about customers (63%).

Which brings us to another improvement we’re thrilled to see in the business of taking care of our business: clean public restroom apps. There are several out there and we’re not making a recommendation, but it can’t be worse than going to a public restroom without some kind of head’s up.

  • Sit or Squat is brought to you by none other than Charmin, the makers of toilet paper and it has one purpose: to identify bathrooms around you and let you know if they’re nice and clean . . . or not so nice. This app is crowd-sourced, but it receives mixed feedback from users.
  • Toilet Finder uses the slogan “May the flush be with you” and claims its database to includes more than 70,000 public-accessible restrooms.
  • Whizzer claims to be the ultimate bathroom locator and lets you search by current location to find clean restrooms, those that are open late at night, and those with showers. You can also search to include baby changing stations, feminine hygiene products, and can even specify just how clean you want the restroom to be. You can even follow them on Twitter!
  • Diaroogle.com calls themselves “the premier toilet search engine” and when the time comes for us to go, we really hope they’re right.
  • Bathroom Scout offers turn-by-turn navigation can lead you directly to blessed relief. If imagery is available on street view, “Bathroom Scout” can also show you the location around the bathroom, providing added peace of mind.
  • Where to Wee is an app that helps you find and rate restrooms worldwide. “Whether it’s a road-trip that never seems to end, or an endless line in front of the women’s restroom: when you gotta go, you gotta know.