Hand hygiene – Proactive approach to prevent spread of infection
Agreed, Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to disease management. Spread of nosocomial infection is one of the situations where prevention is always a better option. Washing hands often is one of the proactive strategies to arrest the spread of infection.
When hand cleaning is a must?
- After touching bed rails, bedside table, remote control or a phone
- After touching door knobs
- Before eating (Wash hands with soap and water)
- After using restroom (Wash hands with soap and water)
- Before touching face, nose, eyes or mouth
- Before and after changing bandages
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After touching any surface where patients body fluids might have spread
Washing hands with soap and water is effective option to get rid of germs and arrest the spread of infection. When its not feasible, hand sanitisers provide a convenient option
Various health organisations and medical associations have studied and observed that even in a hospital set up hand washing helps reduce spread the infection, yet at times hands are not washed as often as it should be. CDC (centre for disease control) reports that in a 12 hour shift of a health care worker, he or she may have to wash hands over 100 times. It’s also found that even the well trained medical professionals touch their face often, jeopardising their own health. Therefore use of hand sanitisers is encouraged as an alternative to washing hands with soap as it may not be feasible to wash hands every time.
Alcohol based sanitisers are a must for hand hygiene
Hand sanitisers are generally made of alcohol. World Health Organisation recommends alcohol based hand sanitisers even in pandemic conditions to reduce the spread of infection. Alcohol based hand sanitisers are recommended because; it kills a wide spectrum of microbes and is easy to use in a health care set up. Also, superbugs do not build resistance against alcohol based sanitisers. Hand sanitisation with Inosept must be practiced by health care providers, patients and visitors.
When choosing hand sanitisers please check the following:
- It should have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Choose WHO recommended formula.
- Must have more than 60% alcohol. Many studies confirm that for a hand sanitiser to be effective against bacteria and viruses it must have more than 60% alcohol.
- The shelf life or expiry date.
- Clean rags, aprons, towels, and uniforms.
- It is properly stored as per recommended storage conditions. Since, alcohol is a volatile substance it evaporates over a period.
- Though hand sanitisers can be used in almost all situations for germ free hands, they are not effective when your hands are soiled or greasy. Washing hands with soap and water is the best option in such situation.