National Hand Washing Awareness Week December 3 – 9 2017

Lily&Q’s say…Handwashing seems like a simple thing, but just this one act can significantly reduce the opportunity to get sick or to pass germs. Many of the scariest ones are passed in hospitals and doctor’s offices where the most sick people end up for treatment. The last place a person with HIV or a compromised immune system needs to be is in one of these places for that very fact! Don’t take it personally when I don’t visit you and yours in the hospital at the height of the influenza season, just trying to keep myself out of there as a patient, that’s all!
Good habits get good results when it comes to handwashing period! Constantly remind yourself to wash your hands making it a regular practice so it becomes second-nature. Only go where there are other sick people if you must, including your own doctor’s office for a Well visit or the ER during the flu season. Hopefully, you won’t become a statistic to the flu this season-Like I have! The good news is that once you have one of the “flavors” of influenza A B or whatever letter, you can’t get that “strain” again this season at least. Whew, that sure is a relief!
This however doesn’t mean you can’t “pick up” another variation of the flu, so get some Flu education, practice what you learn…
And Just WASH your Damn HANDS already!

Hand Washing Happiness

This week is dedicated to helping people remain healthy one hand wash at a time. Practicing regular hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands on a regular basis can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat.

Healthcare Facilities Spread Germs

From 5 Reasons for Handwashing from ActiveBeat

On average, health-care providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients have at least one health care-associated infection.

You may think a quick rinse under water is enough to clean your hands, but you’d be surprised! Keeping your hands clean is the most important method to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other people in the household. Many diseases are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean water.

To properly wash your hands:

  1. Begin by wetting your hands under clean, running water.
  2. Apply soap and lather your hands together—lather the backs of your hands, between fingers and under nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 30-seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands under clean, running water.
  5. Dry using a clean towel, paper towels or allow them to air dry.

5 Facts on Hand Washing:

  1. How Germs Make People Sick:
    People, especially children frequently touch their eyes, mouth and nose without realizing it. Germs can travel from the hand and get into the body, which can make us sick.  Feces from people and pets spread germs like Salmonella, E. coli and norovirus, which causes diarrhea and it can cause respiratory infections.
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand washing can reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31-percent.
    A single gram of human feces can contain one trillion germs. That’s about the weight of a paper clip.
  2. Cross Contamination of Food Can Make You Sick:
    Germs have no scruples. They don’t care whether you’ve handled raw chicken and then sliced some fresh cucumber. In order to prevent cross contamination in the kitchen, it’s vital to wash your hands frequently.

    • When the juice of raw meat comes into contact with ready-to-eat foods or cooking utensils, cross contamination can occur. To prevent food poisoning, always keep raw meat separate and wash anything that comes into contact with the meat—including your hands.
    • Germs can also multiply in some types of food if not stored properly, so ensure you follow kitchen guidelines.

  3. When to Wash Your Hands:
    Hand washing should become second nature—and don’t do it only after you’ve used the bathroom or prepared a meal in the kitchen. You should wash your hands frequently because you never know when you’ve come into contact with germs.
    Wash your hands after using a tissue, taking the garbage out, before eating, during food preparations, after changing a diaper, after playing with pets, after using a shopping cart, when returning home from being outside. Basically, wash your hands a lot.
    Liquid soap is the best choice. Bar soap, especially if used by numerous people can itself become contaminated. The bar of soap tends to sit in a pool of water and germs can linger on the bar. Dried out bar soap can develop cracks that allow harmful germs and dirt to hide inside. Generally, people don’t like to use a bar of soap, so use liquid soap in your home to encourage hand washing.
  4. Germs Can Transfer to Other Objects:
    There’s a reason why germs spread like wildfire through day care centers, schools, and workplaces. Germs are easily transferred to objects like toys, smart phones, laptops and handrails. That means that anyone who hasn’t washed their hands properly can potentially contaminate anything they touch.
    Children are a big risk, so properly washing children’s hands is vital to stopping the spread, but you’ll also need to disinfect toys and surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of infection. That means disinfecting anything that comes into contact with little hands like door knobs, benches, handrails, toys and chairs. It may seem like a daunting task, but it will help keep everyone germ free.
  5. When to Use Hand Sanitizer:
    Washing with soap and water is the best method to combat germs, but sometimes you may find yourself in a sticky situation where you don’t have access to clean water and soap. That’s when hand-sanitizers come in handy.
    Studies have found that hand-sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60- and 90-percent are more effective. Non-alcohol based hand-sanitizers do not work as well. They only reduce the growth of germs, rather than killing them. One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re hands are greasy, hand-sanitizers with 60-percent alcohol may not be enough. To get rid of the grease and germs, good old fashion soap and water are the best choice.

Healthcare Workers Reasons:When and Why Not?

Hand hygiene compliance rates remain generally low despite the well-documented connection between improper hand hygiene and healthcare-associated infections.

— There are many varied reasons healthcare workers don’t comply to hand hygiene protocol a study published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety found.

In the study, teams in eight hospitals used secret observers, as well as “just-in-time coaches, who observed instances of noncompliance and intervene right after to ask the workers why he or she had not done hand hygiene, helping to identify the causes of hand hygiene noncompliance.

Data from the eight hospitals revealed 41 different causes of noncompliance, which were then grouped into 24 causes. Those 24 groups are listed below, in no particular order and are taken from Becker’s Healthcare research.

This list is sure to make you watch healthcare workers more closely from now on…!

  • Healthcare worker forgot
  • Inconvenient placement of hand rub dispenser or sink
  • Broken dispenser or sink
  • No hand rub in the dispenser or missing soap at sink
  • Healthcare worker was distracted
  • Perception that wearing gloves negated need for hand hygiene
  • Proper use of gloves slows down work process
  • Ineffective education
  • Inadequate safety culture that doesn’t stress the need for everyone to perform hand hygiene
  • Worker’s hands were full with no convenient place to put supplies
  • Staff did not remind each other to clean hands
  • Isolation area: special circumstances related to gowning and gloving
  • Skin irritation from the cleaning product
  • Lotion dispenser used instead of soap
  • Following another person in or out of the patient room
  • Equipment sharing between rooms requiring frequent entry and exit
  • Bedside procedure requires frequent room entry and exit
  • Admitting or discharging patients requires frequent room entry and exit
  • Hand hygiene data are not collected or are inaccurate or infrequently reported
  • Perception that excessive hand cleaning is required
  • Hand cleaning product feels unpleasant
  • Healthcare worker was too busy
  • Emergency situation
  • Workflow was not conducive to proper hand hygiene

Do any of them sound like a legitimate reason for forgetting or purposely not washing hands to you? Probably not.

Like my Grand Daughter says, “Just sing me Happy Birthday two times and that’s long enough…Get the back of your hands too!” See, out of the mouths of babes! Teach them early and they’ll make it into a lifetime of regular wellness practices!

Here are a few more links to make you THINK or PUKE!

10 of the Dirtiest Things You Touch Every Day from Mental Floss Think about it, your toilet seat isn’t a surface you’d say, “Go ahead eat off my toilet seat, it’s the cleanest thing in my bathroom…Right?” the places of filth found in this article will make you squirm.

Like your Mother always told you, “Stop touching…!” 7 Parts of Your Body You Shouldn’t Touch with Your Hands “Nuff said.

From The Daily Meal These Are the 11 Dirtiest Things in Every Restaurant and conclude that “Basically don’t touch anything!” A MUST read to remind you so you can be more aware of the next possible place that could make you sick.

Lastly, here is a high tech approach to cleaning a dirty hospital room. Robots may be cleaning your hospital room soon from MedicalExpress and could be the wave of the future to combat germs keeping the most vulnerable patients safer while in the hospital.