Hands are the part of the body that are most exposed to germs and substances in the home, the environment and areas shared with other people such as offices, schools, hospitals, shopping centres and public transport.
Your body harbours a wide selection of microorganisms — intestinal/faecal, oral, nasal, dermal — as well as carrying many others picked up from the environment. All these actions that you do without thinking can pick up unwanted germs, dirt or chemicals and transmit them to your mouth or to other objects or people.
It may seem obvious when you think about it, but there are multiple ways that your hands pick up and spread many different types of bacteria, viruses and even parasites:
Unwashed hands can quickly spread germs around a building via:
Poor hand hygiene is the main cause of preventable illness in offices, schools, hospitals and food establishments. In businesses hand-spread microorganisms cause a high proportion of time off work. If you handle or prepare food for other people your hands can contaminate the food and make other people ill.
A dye that fluoresces in UV light can show where people touch common areas such as in washrooms and offices. This image shows the parts of the hand that picks up most germs through touching common objects in offices.
The purpose of washing hands is to remove dirt, dangerous chemicals and microorganisms that can cause disease or contaminate food and items that people use.
The simple act of hand washing will reduce the risk of stomach bugs by nearly half (47%).
There are many situations when your hands can pick up germs or transfer germs to objects or people and when hand washing will help protect you or others.
Wash your hands in these situations:
Not washing your hands properly, or as often as you should, is the biggest cause of office illness. It is estimated a desk phone has around 25,127 microbes per sq. inch, keyboards 3,295 and mice 1,676, so you might not be surprised to find out that 60% of time-off-work illnesses are contracted from dirty office equipment.
Think about that the next time you use the printer.
The solution? Wash your hands properly, and every time you use the bathroom!
Hand hygiene is more important than ever before. Initial supports a wide range of soap and sanitiser solutions to suit all industries.Hand hygiene is more important than ever before. Initial supports a wide range of soap and sanitiser solutions to suit all industries.