As a community, we share hours of time together in public facilities such as airports, stations, offices, schools and stores. These facilities enrich our daily lives, but they are also the perfect setting for illness such as the cold and flu to spread. However, when in public spaces, we have many opportunities to pick up germs or transmit them to others by contacting door handles, elevator buttons, hand rails, telephones or keyboards. Practically every surface can harbor germs. Every time a person touches something, they may be leaving or acquiring germs from the surface. This is how epidemics and outbreaks spread. Fortunately, placement of hand hygiene products can greatly reduce the spread of germs.
How to perform effective hand hygiene
SARAYA recommends hand hygiene with 3 basic procedures 1) washing, 2) drying and 3) sanitizing.
Wash: Remove dirt and foreign microorganism with soap.
Dry: Remove water thoroughly so alcohol does not get diluted and can effectively sanitize.
Sanitize: Wet hands including fingertips and cuticles with alcohol sanitizer to disinfect hands thoroughly.
The effects of hygienic hand hygiene can be seen through the experiment below. Each handprint was taken at various stages of hand hygiene after contaminating E.coli to hands. Hygienic hand hygiene, which is the combination of hand washing with soap and sanitizing with alcohol-based sanitizer, showed no colonies after washing and sanitizing.
Frequently Missed Areas During Hand Washing
The simple act of hand washing does not guarantee all areas of the hands will be equally cleaned. Areas such as the fingertips, thumbs and in between the fingers are frequently missed during a routine hand wash. This can leave the hands contaminated and possibly weaken the effect of hand sanitizer; especially the fingertips which are the most commonly used part of the hand. Extra care must be taken to wash all parts of the hands thoroughly.
Hygienic Hand Washing Method
Now that the importance of hand hygiene and frequently missed areas during hand washing are clear, let's take a look at the proper hygienic hand washing method.
To achieve the full effect of alcohol hand sanitizer, make sure hands have been thoroughly dried. Water can dilute sanitizer and prevent it from contacting the skin.
When To Practice Hygienic Hand Washing
According to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration), food handlers must clean their hands and exposed portions of their arms immediately before engaging in food preparation including working with exposed food, clean equipment and utensils, and unwrapped single-service and single-use articles and at the following times.
• After touching bare human body parts other than clean hands and clean, exposed portions of arms
• After using the toilet
• After caring for or handling service animals or aquatic animals
• After coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief or disposable tissue, using tobacco, eating, or drinking
• After handling soiled equipment or utensils
• During food preparation, as often as necessary to remove soil and contamination and to prevent cross contamination when changing tasks
• When switching between working with raw food and working with ready-to-eat food
• Before donning gloves to initiate a task that involves working with food
• After engaging in other activities that contaminate the hands
Three Focus Points in Hand Washing
Unfortunately, you can sometimes pick up germs in hand washing process depending on what type of hand washing liquid and dispenser you choose. To improve the quality of hand washing, there are three points to focus on. When all the three points are met, it becomes the Gold Standard of Hand Washing.
Gold Standard of Hand Washing
1. Disposable: Prevents the risk of contamination during refilling. 2. Undiluted refill: Prevents contamination of hand washing soap. 3. No-touch: Prevents the cross contamination caused by touching a dispenser.