It is no secret that many people do not understand the importance of hand hygiene. In fact, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only about 5% of people regularly practice good hand hygiene. This lack of understanding has led to many health concerns, as improper hand hygiene can easily lead to the spread of bacteria and viruses.
This is particularly concerning in healthcare settings, as patients are often more susceptible to infection. Studies have shown that healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a major problem in hospitals and other medical facilities. And not only can HAIs be extremely dangerous for patients, but they can also be very costly. According to the CDC, HAIs are estimated to cost healthcare facilities around $35 billion each year.
To help combat this problem, it is important that both healthcare workers and patients alike understand the importance of hand hygiene. In this article, we will go in-depth about the main reasons why you should make it your top priority. So whether you are a healthcare worker or simply someone who wants to protect their health, keep reading to learn more.
It Can Help Prevent The Spread Of Infection
Did you know that hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection? It’s been estimated that hand hygiene can prevent up to 50% of all infections. There are many reasons why this is the case, but let’s take a look at some of the most important ones.
One of the most important ways that hand hygiene prevents the spread of infection is by killing bacteria. When you wash your hands, you remove all of the dirt, debris, and bacteria that have accumulated on them. This helps to reduce the number of bacteria that can spread from person to person. And with fewer bacteria around, there’s a reduced risk of bacterial infections. Regular handwashing can reduce the number of bacteria on your hands by up to 90%. And if you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, you can kill up to 99.9% of bacteria.
Prevents The Spread Of Viruses
Another way that hand hygiene prevents the spread of infection is by preventing the spread of viruses. Viruses are responsible for some of the most common infections, such as colds and flu. When you wash your hands, you remove any viruses that may be on them. This reduces the chances of passing those viruses on to other people. And if you’re sick with a virus, washing your hands can help to prevent spreading it to others. Even though viruses are much harder to kill than bacteria, practicing good hand hygiene can still reduce the number of viruses on your hands by up to 80%.
Help You Meet All The Safety Standards
In many industries, hand hygiene is a requirement. This is because it’s an important part of food safety and infection control. If you work in the food industry, you likely have to follow strict handwashing guidelines. The same is true for healthcare workers. In both cases, failing to practice good hand hygiene can put people at risk. Not only that, but it can also lead to serious penalties, such as fines or the loss of your job. In hospitals, hand hygiene monitoring standards are in place. And if you don’t meet those standards, you could be putting patients at risk. The easiest way to achieve HHC standard for your healthcare facility is to utilize electronic hand hygiene monitoring solutions. These solutions can help you track and improve your hand hygiene compliance and thus help protect patients from Hospital Acquired Infections.
Helps Remove Allergens
In addition to preventing the spread of infection, hand hygiene can also help remove allergens. Allergens are substances that can cause an allergic reaction, such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. If you have allergies, it’s important to keep your hands clean. From touching door handles to using public transportation, there are countless ways that allergens can end up on your hands. And if you’re not careful, those allergens can easily end up in your nose, mouth, or eyes. This can trigger an allergic reaction, such as sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose. To help avoid this, be sure to wash your hands regularly. This will remove any allergens that may be on them.
Keeps Your Hands Soft And Free Of Irritants
If you’ve ever had dry, cracked hands, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Not only does it look bad, but it can also be quite painful. And in some cases, it can even lead to other skin problems, such as dermatitis. Hand hygiene is important for preventing this type of damage to your hands. When you wash your hands, you remove any irritants that may be on them. This includes things like dirt, debris, and bacteria. By keeping your hands clean, you can help to avoid irritation and dryness.
It Can Also Help Prevent Food Poisoning
Not only can hand hygiene helps prevent the spread of infection, but it can also help prevent food poisoning. Food poisoning is caused by consuming contaminated food. And while it’s usually not serious, it can still make you feel quite ill. The symptoms of food poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can even lead to hospitalization. One of the most common ways that food becomes contaminated is through contact with dirty hands. When you prepare food, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. This will remove any bacteria or other contaminants that may be on them.
How To Encourage Good Hand Hygiene?
One of the best ways to encourage good hand hygiene is to lead by example. If you practice good hand hygiene, others will be more likely to do the same. You can also promote hand hygiene in your workplace or home by hanging up posters or placing flyers in high-traffic areas. Another great way to encourage hand hygiene is to provide employees with easy access to soap and water. This could mean installing dispensers in the break room or restrooms. Or, you could place bottles of hand sanitizer around the office. If you have young children, you can teach them about the importance of hand hygiene by leading them in songs or rhymes about washing their hands.
As you can see, there are more than enough reasons to start taking hand hygiene seriously. From preventing the spread of infection to avoiding food poisoning, hand hygiene is crucial. So, be sure to wash your hands regularly and encourage others to do the same.