Evidence of hand hygiene to reduce transmission and infections

Bacteria when shaking hands illustration

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Bacteria when shaking hands illustration Infection prevention
Credit:Freepik

The human skin is the largest organ of the human body concerning its surface area and exposure to the external environment. It acts as an excellent barrier for protection against harsh environmental conditions but is also colonized with microorganisms that form a distinct human microbiome , although varying considerably from one person to another but are often somewhat constant for any specific person. Infection prevention is important in order to protect yourself and the treatment environment from germs in the patient’s body.

These microorganisms can also be called natural flora of one’s body and are usually divided into two categories:

1- Transient flora which comes on superficial layers of skin for some time and can easily be washed off. It is frequently associated with healthcare-related infections.

2- Resident flora which is present in deep skin layers and is less likely to be associated with any sort of infection.

When pathogenic, these microbes become a potential risk to the health of a person and can cause significant morbidity and mortality if they are dangerous enough. Moreover, if they don’t affect a healthy person then there’s a possibility that they can be transmitted to a sick sock person who already has a low immunity or can colonize or infect normal healthy individuals if they are transmitted by a sick person.

The advent of Novel viruses like Covid-19, influenza, and the Ebola virus, and the emergence of resistant strains of traditional pathogens has exposed glitches in our healthcare system. It signifies that the preventive healthcare system needs to be more efficient and practical than curative healthcare so that the burden on curative healthcare can be minimized. Not only that, but preventive measures can also save the human race from a lot of existing and upcoming microbial diseases.

Covid-19 frontline healthcare and essential workers Infection prevention
Copyright: Freepik

 How can hand hygiene help in minimizing the infection risks?

Well, the answer to this is simple, if you somehow eliminate the pathways through which microbes and germs gain access to your body then you can effectively minimize the risk of lethal infectious diseases. It is proven that lack of hand hygiene Is the leading cause of the spread of many respiratory, diarrheal, and skin diseases.

Microorganisms like Covid-19, influenza virus, Salmonella, Shigella, Giardia, E.coli O157, and norovirus, cause diarrhea, respiratory diseases, and hands-foot-mouth diseases. These pathogens are frequently present in manure and can contaminate a person’s hand during changing a diaper or using the bathroom. It can also climb on one’s hand while dealing with raw meat having traces of animal faces.

Infection Prevention and Control is paramount in nursing, it protects both patient and healthcare worker from disease. 

Pathogens can access hands just by touching a polluted object

These germs can spread from one person to another with a mere touch or a handshake and make someone ill. All these infections can be prevented from causing diseases and their transmission can also be halted with the help of hand-washing compliance.  The likelihood of emerging epidemics, pandemics, and epidemics can be handled by controlling the transmission and acquisitions of these infections by showing hand-washing compliance.

Although a lot of people are aware of hand hygiene and importance and washing their hands with water frequently, very few use soaps while washing their hands. According to CDC, soaps remove germs from hands more efficiently, compared to washing hands with plain water. Inappropriate hand hygiene and lack of hand washing stations significantly affect the health of children across the world.

Cleaning hands with soap removes pathogens and germs from hands

Which results in a decline in the rate of respiratory infections, eyes, and skin diseases, and reduces the occurrence of diarrhea.

According to a report, increasing awareness and educating about the significance of handwashing in a community has immensely lessened diarrhea by 23-40%

Infection prevention
Copyright: Freepik

Moreover, it has also been documented that there was decreased diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%. Also, such awareness has been directed toward the reduction in respiratory illness, such as., common flu, in the general population by 16-21%, and gastrointestinal infections in schoolchildren by 29-57%.  Infection prevention

In addition to this, the WHO is working with the motto “ Clean care is safer care” to promote hand hygiene compliance to fight the rising infections by multi-drug-resistant strains. According to the conclusion drawn from available data and surveys, it is stated that improvements were seen when hand hygiene was assumed as the primary preventive measure to fight off antibiotic resistance.

You can find more useful information on our blog

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