What you need to know about hand hygiene?
Germs and bacteria often surround us in our everyday life be it at work, leisure or home. In fact, there are many unexpected items and daily tools we come into contact with that harbours millions of bacteria. To make matters worse, how many of us actually practice optimal and adequate hygiene? Hygiene is not just about keeping place clean and tidy, but observing individual’s personal hygiene as well. In this article, Initial discuss what you need to know about hygiene and how to protect yourself from falling sick.
What are the different ways of maintaining hand hygiene?
The first basic step is to wash your hands with soap and running water for at least twenty seconds to remove those dirt and grime on your hand. It is vital for facilities and businesses to provide ample hand soap dispensers to help promote hand hygiene. One common bad habit observed among many is to either flick off excess water or wiping the wet hands onto own body and clothes. This is a simple and convenient act however, it brings about cross contamination risks. First, is the fact that damp hands habour bacteria like E. Coli and able to spread 1,000 times more than dry hands. Secondly, our clothes may come into contact with bacteria and viruses during interaction and frequent movements, and hence potentially transferring these pathogens back to a “supposedly clean hands”.
Therefore, hand hygiene also includes the act of drying your hands with a paper towel or a hand dryer thoroughly before leaving the washroom. Finally, to enhance our health and safety, particularly with presence of viruses such as the Coronavirus, the Initial Hygiene Hand Sanitiser aims to optimise the hygiene and protection standards as we embrace the global pandemic. The alcohol-based sanitiser eliminates 99.99% of germs while the unit coated with antibacterial surface minimises spread of germs. Contactless dispensers are available to miminise unnecessary contact with the non-touch and auto dispenser features.
What you need to know about pathogens
What is germs, bacteria and viruses?
Germs or also known as pathogens comprises four main types of disease-causing microorganisms namely, bacteria, virus, fungi and protozoa. They are easily confused and mistaken among individuals, as they sound scientifically similar. One thing for sure is, any of these is harmful to our health and safety. However, what are the key differences among these germs?
Firstly, bacteria seeks nutrients from their hosts such as any living thing or ourselves. There are the good and bacteria whereby we consume friendly bacteria for health benefits such as enhancing digestive and immunity system. The bad bacteria on the other hand makes us sick with infections. Examples of harmful bacteria includes Salmonella and E.Coli that caused by consumption of contaminated food and water and develop symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, fever, headache and dehydration.
Secondly, virus are genetics coated within a protein and depend on other cells to multiply. They need to live within a host in order to survive, transmitted from a touch point or another individual to us. Some common diseases spread from a virus includes the cold, Influenza that are not treated with antibiotics typically.
Thirdly, fungi seeks their nutrient from plants and animals and present in a damp, humid and warm environment. Particularly, places with poor ventilation or high in moisture, or could be generated as a result from inadequate facility maintenance such as air-conditioning servicing. While they are less harmful and damaging compared to bacteria, however they can cause unpleasant diseases such as athlete’s foot and yeast infections.
Finally, the protozoa is similar to bacteria that causes intestinal implications. This includes the Giardiasis that transmitted from water contamination or faecal matters. The protozoan parasites live in living organism such as animals and plants, and parasitic symptoms. Examples include diahrrea, greasy stools, dehydration, nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps.
The importance of embracing hygiene
Why is maintaining diligent hygiene standards important?
Keeping ourselves clean and hygienic is one way to ensure we maintain optimal health standards. By eliminating presence of not just the dirt and grime, but harmful bacteria and viruses, we picked up from a human or contact surface. As bacteria and germs needs our nutrients and our body as a habitat, it is important we ensure we sanitise ourselves through diligent hygiene habits.
In addition, we need to be socially responsible by keeping ourselves healthy and germ-free. This avoids passing these pathogens to people around us including family and colleagues. Psychologically and emotionally, it boost one’s confidence and self-esteem and portray a positive image and perception to other parties.
Cross contamination is a common cause of spreading diseases from one person to another by transferring these pathogens. It spreads through interaction and surface contact. While some transmission may be uncontrollable, largely begins with cultivating our own hygiene habits and adopting the right lifestyle. This includes the following:
- Not washing hands after using a washroom or not washing hands correctly and adequately
- Poor handling of food and drinks that results in food contamination
- Not cleaning the cooking tools, utensils or table top before using that may harbour germs
- Did not put on a mask or stay at home when feeling unwell
- Coughing and sneezing out in the open without covering with a tissue
- Leaving soiled papers and tissue around without disposing into a bin
- Irregularly-sanitised and disinfected surfaces and touchpoints
Steps to enhance our hygiene standards
Use of sanitary bins
Besides adopting a diligent hand hygiene regime at home and at work, it is important to step up integrated and holistic hygiene standards. Firstly, female personal hygiene is often neglected with the absence of proper feminine hygiene units. In some environment, a normal waste bin is used to contain soiled sanitary napkins. To up the feminine hygiene standards, no-touch sanitary bins allow contact-less interaction with the bin. Simply wave your hands at the sensor indicator, drop in the napkin and allow the lid closed automatically.
Ensure clean toilet seats are cleaned
Secondly, it is not quite possible to squat and hover around toilet seats in the cubicle for safety reasons. We can avoid these risks and inconvenience by using a toilet seat cleaner to sanitise the surface from body secretions, fluids or presence of pathogens.
Due to the sneeze effect as we flush, aerosol spray comprising of polluted water and faecal matter takes place in less than a minute and lasting up to 24 hours. These bacteria lands on critical contact surfaces such as flush button, doorknobs and handles and sanitary bin beside it. As we spend quite a fair bit of time in the washroom daily, adequate washroom hygiene is important. This includes the installation of toilet and urinal sanitiser to minimise cross contamination risks.
Focusing on floor hygiene
Finally, not forgetting the floor filled with vast dirt, germs and dust that we bring in from our shoes externally. Vacuuming, wiping and moping floor regularly is one way to remove these particles of the surface, but not adequate in controlling disease-causing pathogens. Placing floor mats is the first line of protection in promoting a clean and hygienic environment. It also helps to alleviate the labour constraint and resource pressure in adopting a stringent and regular cleaning schedule. Do note, floor mat placement traps these dirt and grime, but unable to perform the full function of a surface sanitation. Proper disinfection and sanitisation services is necessary to reduce pathogens effectively.
Let us do our part being corporate socially responsible
We can do our part by being more corporate socially responsible to the environment and resources. For instance, use sufficient paper towel to dry your hands or opt for automatic hand dryer instead. Save the water by not leaving the running water on without any washing activities. When not using the washroom or any other rooms, turn off the light to save electricity. Also, according to some study in the UK, using foam soap dispenser can reduce water consumption and it is lighter and less dense, lathers up quickly and require lesser water to rinse off compared to liquid consumables.
Contact Initial Singapore your washroom hygiene specialist at (65) 6347 8138 for more recommendations on professional washroom solutions and services tailored for your business needs.