Smart Washroom – Hand Hygiene
“Wash your hands!” How many times have we heard this before? Truly, washing hands is the most important thing one can do to keep oneself away from getting sick. Think about all of the things that we have touched today – from the telephone to the toilet seat. It is easy for germs from your hand to end up in your mouth. An effective hand washing technique requires warm water, soap, lathering and scrubbing for about two minutes. And thus, a good hand washing technique is imperative to ensure hands are thoroughly cleaned.
Thomas Böck, Area Sales Manager of Hagleitner Hygiene International GmbH says, “With the onset of multi-resistant germs increasing, proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective measures to maintain a good health.” According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), some scientists estimate that up to 80% of all infections are transmitted by hands.
In washrooms, germs in damp areas and on door handles. Conventional faucet handle in washrooms also houses germs, so touching the handle, even after washing re-contaminates cleaned hands. The problem multiplies when cloth or paper-towel dispensers, or even air blowers that require a button to be pressed, are used. So when soap and water are not readily available, alcohol based hand sanitizer can come in handy. When rubbed on the hands for about 30 seconds, it tends to slow down the growth of micro-organisms.
Ankit Aggarwal, Asst Manager – Marketing of Mystair Hygiene Care says, “Hand Sanitizers are one of the best tools to fight the germs that cause the spread of illness. They are quick, easy, and readily available for use. Some studies have even shown sanitizers to be more effective at killing germs and keeping hands hygienic than just plain soap and water.” He further adds, “Day to day contact with other people can cause sickness especially in the winter months and regular use of hand sanitizer is a great practice in sickness prevention.”
The CDC recommends routine use of alcohol-based sanitizers, noting that compared to soap and water, alcohol-based sanitizers are easier & quicker to use and cause less skin irritation. Sanitizers reduce the chances of catching common cold, spreading cold to others and even protect from contagious viruses like H1N1. It is important to establish hygiene rules to ensure cleanliness in the workplace – especially when it comes to washroom hygiene.
Alcohol sanitizers have 65-90% alcohol content and are instant disinfectants and kill 99.9% bacteria, certain fungi and viruses – all within a minute of application. The active ingredient in hand sanitizer – usually alcohol – disrupts the coating of virus and bacteria particles. By damaging the exterior of the particle, the virus becomes deactivated. Despite common perceptions, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are well-adapted to the skin. Use of alcohol-based hand gels dries skin less, (significantly decreases epidermis water content), than hand washing with soap and water. Alcohol based hand rubs provide a better skin tolerance and prove to have more effective microbiological properties as compared to antiseptic soaps. Most brands of sanitizers also contain a moisturiser to minimise skin dryness and irritation. Moisturised hand sanitizer kills 99.9% of common germs and bacteria without subjecting the skin to the harsh and drying effects of alcohol.
For instances, Hagleitner Hygiene’s XIBU senseDISINFECT is the only touch less disinfectant dispenser with a reserve tank. The XIBU senseDISINFECT is an innovative hand disinfectant dispenser, which provides flexible possibilities for positioning it through a floor stand, table stand and drip catcher. It can be positioned in hotels, at the entrance of restaurants, on a cruise ship, airports, in bars, mounted on a safety trolley. There is no need to maintain the disinfectant dispenser. Further, the electrical filling level indication is user friendly. Both hands can be disinfected at the same time without touching the dispenser. Therefore, it is impossible to spread any germs on the dispenser. The required quantity of disinfectants can be dispensed saving cost. The energy supply can be done by batteries or power plugs.
According to a new German study, alcohol-based hand disinfectants reduce the number of cases of the common cold, fever and cough in an office environment, and decrease the number of ‘sick days’.
Ankit says, “Absenteeism in the workplace and schools can be cut by up to 50% by installing hand sanitizer stations in accessible locations. In some cases hand sanitizers work better than hand washing because a bathroom sink can breed bacteria and germs. Proper hand washing procedure requires a time period for antibacterial soap to remain on the skin and sink faucets are touched regularly by different people promoting the spread of viruses and bacteria.”
Hand sanitizers are gels that contain Isopropyl alcohol in order to kill the germs present on the skin. The alcohol works immediately and effectively in order to kill bacteria and most viruses. The quality & effectiveness of the hand sanitizer is dependent on the volume-fraction of alcohol contained in the solution. A CDC study reports that 70% alcohol content is considered to be more effective at eliminating bacteria and fungi from the skin than a 50% solution. A study by Ontario’s Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Council (PIDAC) found ethanol content in the range of 70-90% to be most effective at killing bacteria provided the hands are not visibly soiled.
Different facilities offer gel hand sanitizer in different locations. Hotels usually prefer a mild fragrance in hand sanitizers due to aesthetic reasons whereas hospitals do not appreciate any fragrance in their hand sanitizers. It would be ideal to offer hand sanitizer in public hallways and cafeterias, nurse stations and inside patient rooms, mounted onto the wall at shoulder level. Alcohol based hand rubs are extensively used in the hospital environment as an alternative to antiseptic soaps. In corporate offices, various fragrances in hand sanitizers are widely acceptable. Meeting and boardrooms are also good places to have hand sanitizes. In schools, using hand sanitizers is a great alternative to washing hands as the process is quick and effective without a mess. At many schools it is offered in cafeteria entrances.
The sanitizer works on contact, meaning it is effective on the parts of your hands that it touches. That means if you miss a spot between your fingers, there could be viruses or bacteria in that place. Ensure that the sanitizer makes contact with the complete surface of your hands, especially in between your fingers. Having said, a hand sanitizer should not replace hand washing.