According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 40% of foodborne illnesses are transmitted via germs on our hands. Moreover, a staggering 80% of communicable diseases are transferred by touch alone. When done properly, good hand hygiene can be one of the simplest and most effective ways to help you avoid getting sick.
October 15th is Global Handwashing Day, an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness around this very issue. Understanding the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases, and making clear the link between handwashing and food is an integral part of this day. Initial recently commissioned some family research in support of Global Handwashing Day, and its theme ‘Clean hands – a recipe for health’, which aimed to highlight the importance of making handwashing a part of every meal.
The research involved taking swabs from 14 families across Malaysia, France, the UK, South Africa, and Spain, with results recorded twice a day, before breakfast and dinner. Both families were swabbed for two days using their normal handwashing routine, and two days using a robust step-by-step routine provided by Initial.
We know that clean hands are a recipe for health, but what’s the recipe for clean hands? The correct routine should allow for a minimum of 20 seconds, and includes the following steps:
It is important to note that water alone does not clean hands effectively, and that rinsing under running water offers the best chance of avoiding contamination.
Like most things, good hand hygiene begins at home, and good habits begin in childhood. Children are naturally curious and exploring things by touch can cause their hands to become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Indeed, recent research from Initial Hygiene found that even when children had a low swab count (under 500) on their hands, they still had 47% more than adults. However, good hand hygiene practice can improve hand hygiene levels by up to 79% for children, and 89% for adults.
Children learn by seeing and doing rather than just listening, so teaching them about handwashing should be interactive and fun – especially as it can also help with healthy development (CDC). Here are a few fun tips to form good hygiene habits as a family:
Hand hygiene is also a crucial factor in the workplace. Our busy working lives mean hygiene habits can sometimes slip. Previous research from Initial has found that as many as 1 in 4 office workers don’t wash their hands after using the washroom, and 35% will either read or browse articles online, without realising how this leads to cross-contamination of electronic devices that are always carried around with us. We are also more likely than ever to carry these germs back to our desk, and then eat our lunch in the same spot, making the following tips even more crucial to create a positive hand hygiene culture in the workplace:
Initial’s holistic approach to hygiene solutions ensures businesses are covered in all key risk areas.