There is one simple thing which we can all do to help stop the spread of viruses, infections and diseases and it’s easier than you might think – clean your hands. 5th May is the World Health Organization’s ‘Save Lives: Clean Your Hands’ campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of hand hygiene within global healthcare systems. The campaign’s main aim is to create a message which will prevent and reduce the risk of patient infections by practicing proper hygiene. You can show your support by ensuring you take steps to improve your hand hygiene by following our guidance:
Preventing infections worldwide
When patients enter a healthcare setting, be it a doctors surgery, a hospital or a dentist’s office, they don’t expect to develop other illnesses or infections other than for the ones they are there for! Many infections and illnesses affecting patients within healthcare settings are largely preventable by ensuring proper hygiene. This begins with clean hands. As healthcare professionals go from one patient to another, it’s more important than ever that proper hand hygiene is practiced to ease the burden placed on healthcare providers across the world.
Whilst soap dispensers and ‘wash your hands’ signs are prevalent in UK hospitals and surgeries, this is not the case in all countries. According to the WHO, 35% of healthcare facilities do not offer soap and water dispensers for hand washing, as well as other basic facilities to ensure hand hygiene. Even when these systems are in place, they are not always used effectively by healthcare professionals, which is why this year, the WHO wants to drive awareness to ensure that healthy habits are formed, and formed for good.
Hand hygiene at home
Whilst hand hygiene is important in hospitals, it is also important for individuals too. Practicing hand hygiene ensures that you are safeguarded against many of the causes of colds, flu and other viruses, sickness and diarrhoea, food poisoning and more. This is important not only for you, but those around you too. It’s also important to teach children and young people about the importance of hand hygiene to equip them with healthy habits which will stay with them for life.
Basic hand hygiene includes following five simple steps: Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry. You should wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet, whilst preparing food, before and after eating, when treating wounds and in other situations where you could pick up infections or viruses.
There are many other things you can do to ensure hand hygiene. These include carrying a hand sanitiser gel or wipes with you to keep your hands clean when you’re on the go, or using antibacterial wipes around your desk and communal areas at work. By keeping your hands clean you will not only help to stave off infections and viruses, but will also notice clearer skin and hair, which can be affected when we touch our faces with dirty hands.
For more information about the WHO’s Save Lives: Clean Hands campaign, you can visit their website which features a wide range of resources to help you show your support. The NHS also has some valuable resources to help you practice better self-care through better hygiene. Don’t forget to follow our social media pages (@ebpcooh & @richmondgpooh) which will be featuring some key hand hygiene messages this month. Please retweet and share amongst your friends and family so we can help promote the importance of clean hands both in the UK and worldwide.