The global hand hygiene day is commemorated on 5th May and one would say that the importance of hand hygiene has been demonstrated very clearly with the pandemic that the entire world has been grappling with. The few seconds that it takes to meticulously wash hands can go a long way towards caring for yourself and for your loved ones.
Hand hygiene is an inexpensive and simple yet effective way to eradicate and prevent transmission of infectious micro-organisms during health care delivery. Hand hygiene should be performed as often as needed but there are a few instances where we need to be cognizant and always follow through with washing hands.
Anytime that we interact with food, we should wash our hands, before preparing the food, eating, and after preparing and eating food to avoid creating breeding environments for the micro bacteria that cause infection and disease. After using the bathroom, and petting, or feeding an animal, the coat of these animals is often littered with detritus and even the cleanest of coats harbor numerous infection-causing pathogens. If any of the guidelines sound familiar, that’s because these are basic lessons that are constantly reiterated to our primary school children. We should call to mind and begin practicing these simple habits to allow for better overall health.
As important as the timing of hand hygiene, is the technique that we use to wash our hands. Quickly and sloppily splashing water onto our hands just before a meal is little better than having not have washed our hands at all. There are multiple infographics that can be found on the internet detailing how we should be washing our hands. The basic steps involve wetting our hands, lathering them with soap, rubbing our palms against each other, rubbing the back part of the hands, cleaning the fingers – while including the thumbs, and then thoroughly rinsing them. It is easy to get tired with the constant hand washing, but be assured, it is making a difference.
By Daniel Mumo – Clinical Operations