Hand hygiene is the simple act of washing or cleansing your hands.
It is a habit we should form and do when we use the bathroom, when we cough or sneeze or when we handle food. Unfortunately, too many people either do not wash their hands or do not know how to properly wash their hands.
Why don’t people wash their hands?
According to the latest statistics gathered by Hand Hygiene Australia, from a total of 940 public and private hospitals, only 84.1% of staff practices proper hand hygiene. This alarming fact has become a widespread phenomenon across different industries and homes. Numerous excuses are used to avoid proper hand hygiene, for example:
- “I don’t have time to wash my hands”
- “Washing my hands irritates my skin”
- “My hands don’t look dirty”
- “The bathroom is hard to get to”
Yet, the simple act of washing your hands could potentially save 1500 Australians per year.
Our hands are germ harbourers, spreading from hand to hand and by contact with objects that have been coughed or sneezed on. The germs harboured on your phone alone are considered 18 times dirtier than a public toilet! We hold phones in our hand every day.
What can proper hand hygiene do?
Hand washing is incredibly important, particularly during the cold and flu season as this act is the first defence to ward off bad bacteria and contain the spread of germs. Preventing sickness through hand hygiene then also means that fewer people fall sick. If fewer people fall sick, the number of antibiotic users is reduced and in turn, the likeliness of antibiotic resistance is decreased.
Studies have also shown that handwashing protects 1 out of 3 children from diarrhea and 1 out of 5 children from respiratory infections. Within the workplace, proper hand hygiene can help reduce illness and absenteeism.
How do I practice proper hand hygiene?
The Global Hygiene Council recommends washing hands before every meal and after going to the toilet. This accumulates to a minimum of six times a day and is considered basic hygiene. How should you wash your hands? We’ve created a hand washing guideline that you can print and stick in the bathroom both at work and at home. Feel free to download it here.
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