April 24, 2019

Hand Hygiene Day Isn’t Just For Health Workers

The Word Health Organization (WHO) has declared May 5 Hand Hygiene as a way to encourage health workers to practice good hand hygiene. Health care associated infections affect hundreds of millions of people every year. And research has shown that most of these infections could be prevented by better handwashing practices.  Poor employee hygiene is also considered to be a contributing factor in food poisoning outbreaks associated with restaurants.

Washing handsIn health care settings, the most common infections include urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, pneumonia and infections of the bloodstream. Seven out of every 100 people hospitalized in developed countries and 10 out of every 100 patients hospitalized in developing nations acquire health care-associated infections, according to WHO.  “Among critically ill and vulnerable patients in intensive care units, that figure rises to around 30 per 100.”

More than 9 million health workers in 168 countries are part of WHO’s  “SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands” campaign.  The five key moments health care workers should clean their hands are: before touching a patient; before clean and aseptic procedures such as inserting catheters; after contact with body fluids; after touching a patient; and after touching patient surroundings.

In food service settings, employees should always remember to wash their hands before preparing or serving food and after using the restroom, clearing dirty dishes, eating, drinking, using tobacco, coughing, sneezing, using tissue, touching the body (such as scratching your nose), handling dirty equipment and touching raw meat. For more information on safe food handling from the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), click here.


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