Initial explores the impact hand hygiene has on the spread of viruses and what are the preventive steps you can take as the Wuhan Coronavirus continues its spread around the world. Learn more about Coronavirus, the science behind the spread of germs and what you can do to boost your immunity.
The battle against Wuhan Coronavirus
As of January 30, Singapore confirmed 13 cases of Wuhan Coronavirus. Your news feed has been buzzing with the latest updates on the Wuhan Coronavirus. But what is Wuhan Coronavirus? It is a respiratory virus that originated from animals and it can be transmitted from animals to humans or from human to human. In fact, sneezing, coughing and close contact drives infection. What are your risks?
Virus travels faster than a cheetah
Viruses are microscopic parasites that are able to thrive and reproduce inside living cells. They are transmitted when a sneeze or cough sends out micro droplets of fluid from the mouth and nose of an infected person. Therefore, coming into contact with the secretion of an infected person puts you at risk of an infection.
The distance that germs can travel may surprise you. Researchers found that an average sneeze or cough can send 100,000 contagious germs into the air at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. That is 1.4570 times the speed of a Cheetah! These droplets carry infection that enters the body through inhalation.
1 germ to 8 million germs in 1 day
Learn more about the science behind germs:
- One germ can multiply into more than 8 million germs in a single day
- Four main types of germs includes bacteria, virus, fungi and protozoa
- Exists since 3.5 billion years ago
- Survive for up to three hours on hands
- Germs on fingertips doubles after using the toilet
5 items that contain more germs than the toilet
It is smart to keep germs at bay by routinely washing and disinfecting your hands. However, do you know the filthiest objects that we come into contact with on a daily basis?
It is one of the most frequently exchanged items. Paper money can transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days.
- ATM keypad
The dirtiest key on an ATM pad is the “Enter” button, since it is the one key that is unavoidable.
A study found that the average bag is 3 times dirtier than an office toilet seat. Avoid bringing your bag to the toilet or placing it on the floor.
- Supermarket cart
An average supermarket cart has 361 times more bacteria than a toilet door knob. Supermarket carts contain germs transferred from dirty hands and raw food.
- Mobile phone
Studies found that the average mobile phone carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats. Viruses can live on hard surfaces like phone screens for up to 24 hours.
A single hand contains 200 million bacteria per square inch
A single hand may contain over 200 million bacteria per square inch. For that reason, nearly 80 percent of illness-causing germs are spread by hands. Moreover, germs can survive for up to three hours on hands.
Do you know that on average; we touch our eyes, nose and mouth up to 15 times a day? Viruses can enter the body when we touch our faces with contaminated hands. Therefore, it is important to maintain hand hygiene throughout the day to protect against germs.
How does hand hygiene prevents infection?
Washing hands with soap and water removes not only germs but also dirt. This can reduce the risk of infections by 50%.
On the other hand, hand sanitiser can kill up to 99.9% of germs to keep bacteria at bay. Although hand sanitisers do not replace handwashing, they are an effective solution to get rid of germs in the absence of water. In addition, hand sanitisers also serve as a secondary layer of protection against contagious infections.
It is important to provide hand washing and hand sanitiser facilities in high traffic areas and outside washrooms. Initial Hand Sanitiser Dispensers and Hand Soap Dispensers are sensor-activated to minimise contact and cross-contamination. Furthermore, the antibacterial surfaces also prevent the growth of bacteria.
After washing your hands, it is also important to dry your hands thoroughly. Bacteria can spread more easily through wet hands. Combat the spread of germs with Initial Paper Towel Dispenser. It is able to hold up to 200 disposable paper towels and keep them free from contamination.
Last but not least, washroom facilities do not need to be boring. Initial hygiene provides a modern solution with a selection of up to 9 colours in its Signature Colour Range range to match your washroom design.
What else can we do to protect against viruses?
Despite our best efforts, some contact with germs is inevitable. Hand hygiene is one of the most important measures to prevent the spread of harmful viruses.
In our previous article, we discussed the correct way to wash your hands. The recommended 20 seconds hand-washing routine includes cleaning between fingers, thumbs, wrists, palms, back of hands and fingernails. Besides hand washing, these are other recommendations to maintain hand hygiene:
- Use disposable gloves when handling food or waste
- Do not use soiled or damp gloves
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth
- Cover all wounds or cuts with waterproof plasters
- Keep fingernails clean and tidy
- Use a hand sanitiser when soap and water is not available
- Dry hands thoroughly after washing
Not only that, a study found that if the toilets were clean and well-maintained, people are more likely to stop and wash their hands. With a dirty or smelly toilet, people just want to leave as soon as possible.
Initial hygiene washroom solutions combined with professional services ensures a high level of customer satisfaction for your business.
Your complete guide to hand hygiene
The community challenge – Wuhan Coronavirus control
We can take precautionary measures to minimise the spread of viruses such as Wuhan Coronavirus. These include:
- Avoid unprotected contact with wild animals
- Wash and sanitise hands frequently
- Minimise close contact with people and visit a doctor immediately if you have cough, flu or fever symptoms
- Monitor temperature if you are unwell
- Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth when you have cough and flu symptoms
- Cough and sneeze into a disposable tissue paper
- Disinfect common areas regularly as germs can live on surfaces for hours
- Defer all non-essential travel to China
- Stay updated with the latest advisories from the Singapore authorities
Additionally, measures are in place to limit the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus in Singapore. These include:
- Employers should provide a 14-day Leave of Absence to employees who had been in China in the 14 days before returning to Singapore
- Mandatory quarantine is issued for travellers from Hubei who are already in Singapore
- New visitors with travel history in Hubei OR with PRC passports issued in Hubei are not allowed entry into Singapore from 29 January 2020
5 Top tips to boost immunity
The immune system forms, stores and distributes white blood cells that fight bacteria and viruses. Hence, a strong immunity helps in the fight against infections. Here are 5 top tips to improve our immunity:
- Eat a balanced diet
A healthy immune system require regular nourishment of vitamins and minerals.
- Manage stress
Prolonged periods of stress may take a toll on the immune system.
- Exercise regularly
Exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the immune system.
- Get adequate sleep of 7 to 8 hours per day
Studies have reported that having enough sleep improves cells known as T-cells (T lymphocyte) which play an important role in the immune system.
- Maintain a healthy weight
Immune responses are known to be impaired in severe malnutrition. Conversely, obesity also increases the risk of bacterial and viral infections.
Call Initial Singapore at 6347 8138 for an enhanced hygiene solution.