Hand Hygiene: Are You Doing It Right?

Studies suggest around 80 per cent of all infectious diseases – including Influenza and the common cold – are spread by touch. Stopping those infections before they have a chance to spread is critical. The simplest way is through basic hand hygiene.

This should not be difficult. And yet, despite the fact we all do it (or at least should do it) several times a day, it seems we don’t always get it right. Let’s break it down a bit.

Are you washing your hands at the right time?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed a highly effective set of guidelines to help improve hand hygiene in healthcare settings. These “five moments of hand hygiene” recommend healthcare workers should wash their hands:

  • before touching a patient
  • before clean/aseptic procedures
  • after body fluid exposure/risk
  • after touching a patient
  • after touching patient surroundings

The same principles can be applied to almost any setting. From this it follows that we should all wash our hands:

  • before handling food
  • after going to the toilet
  • after coughing, sneezing or using a tissue
  • when switching between handling raw food ingredients meat and ready-to-eat or cooked foods
  • after handling money
  • after handling waste or litter
  • after touching dirty surfaces
  • after picking up something from the floor
  • after any other activity that contaminates hands

Are you doing it right?

We all think we know how to wash our hands properly, but studies show that we generally do not. Most of the time we don’t spend enough time to let soaps or sanitisers to do their job. Or we don’t apply soap or sanitiser to the whole hand. That means the pathogens that cause illnesses can remain on our hands and spread to other people or contaminate new surfaces. The NHS has a useful video that shows how to wash hands properly.

Are you using effective products?

In many situations, using soap and water will be good enough to clean the hands. In other settings, such as health care and food service, a suitable hand disinfectant can provide additional protection and assurance. Diversey offers a complete range of products including soaps, sanitisers and creams that can be used in different settings and industries to provide the right level of hygiene, protection and infection prevention.

Are these products readily available?

Whatever products are used, it is important to ensure they are available whenever they are needed. That means providing a suitable product at the point of use, checking bottles or dispensers regularly throughout the day and topping up as necessary.

Diversey’s IntelliCare system helps to improve hand hygiene convenience and compliance. The dispenser can be used with a wide range of hand care products – soaps, sanitisers and creams – so that operators can choose the one most suited to their specific requirement.

Each product is supplied in the same design and size of pouch to enable complete interchangeability and flexibility. The pouches are larger than average which, combined with the dispenser’s excellent dosing control, ensures the maximum interval between refills. The dispenser usually operates in contactless mode but switches automatically to manual mode if its battery becomes depleted. It also issues alerts when product or battery levels are getting low so that they can be replaced before they run out. All of this helps to ensure hand hygiene products are always available.

You can learn more about IntelliCare in our introductory video:

Making A Cleaner World

Over the next couple of days we are marking two excellent initiatives that aim to highlight the significance of cleaning to society at large.

Today (20 September) is the first global iRecognise day. The sole purpose of the day is to raise the profile of the cleaning sector and to show that you personally ‘Recognise’ – Respect Every Cleaning Operative Giving Necessary Importance to Services and Environments – the work they carry out.

The event is endorsed by BICSc (The British Institute of Cleaning Science), of which Diversey is a member. We would like to encourage all businesses to actively promote this day of recognition by using all the social media platforms using #iRecognise, displaying posters (downloadable from the iRecgonise website) and doing what is seen fit to acknowledge the hard work and efforts of the cleaning operatives involved in making the environment a cleaner, safer happier place to live and work. 

Tomorrow (21 September) is World Clean Up Day, a global cleanup event organised by Let’s Do It World. Its aim is to make the world a cleaner place and raise awareness of the harms of mismanaged waste. Up to 18 million volunteers in over 150 countries will be involved.

Volunteers and partners worldwide will come together to rid our planet of trash – cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from our beaches, rivers, forests, and streets. World Cleanup Day harnesses the power of everyday people to achieve incredible things by joining together. Its beauty lies in cooperation and collaboration: building bridges between disparate communities, and including all levels of society – from citizens to business, to government.

Good luck to everyone.