Tag Archives: hand washing

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

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

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/

Patient and physician co-washing may increase clinic hand washing

Accountability.

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!