Tuesday 26 March 2024

A Public Health Expert’s Ultimate Guide to Handwashing

Researchers estimate that one million deaths could be prevented annually if every person practiced proper hand hygiene. Handwashing is among the most effective tools one can use to avoid catching or spreading disease, yet research shows that handwashing is a skill imperfected by many. For example, a study done by the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding hand washing before meals, revealed consumers fell short of adequate washing 97% of the time. Similarly, a study observing hand washing after bathroom use at various public attractions in major cities found as many as 15% of people omitted proper handwashing. Even handwashing studies done in medical centers have found adequate handwashing tendencies among hospital staff fall short of 100%.

All of this research suggests that whether you are grabbing a bite to eat at your local eatery, exiting the bathroom of a crowded train station, or entering the operating room, it might be high time for some advice from an expert.

Handwashing is a tried and true tool in the field of public health. Few laypeople beyond students of public health are privy to the origins of handwashing. Ignaz Semmelweis, a 19th-century Austrian physician, famously discovered that hand washing between work in the autopsy lab and the delivery room decreased the maternal mortality rate in his clinic significantly. Thus the link between the hands of health care workers and disease was born. Today, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) considers handwashing the most cost effective measure for reducing disease. Public health workers utilize handwashing as a tool in nearly every setting, whether it be a nation facing an epidemic of respiratory virus, a community facing a high burden of diarrheal disease, or a classroom attempting to mitigate absenteeism among students. You don’t have to deliver babies for your proper handwashing to make an impact.

In this article, we will focus mainly on handwashing when ill, or preparing food and answer all the questions begged by someone ready to clean up their act.

Read more here

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (http://www.pharmamicroresources.com/)

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