Hand washing and using sanitisers!

It is vital to keep our hands clean on a daily basis but more so now more than ever in today’s situation with the coronavirus. Keeping our hands clean is the first step to avoiding illness and stopping the spread of germs to others. 

Due to the coronavirus a lot of people have bought up all hand sanitisers, but it isn’t perfect and doesn’t last as long as people think. According to a survey carried out in 2010; more than half of the people involved thought that hand sanitisers lasted longer than they really do.

There are important differences between them. The main one being hand sanitiser doesn’t remove all germs, such as norovirus, parasites, clostridium difficile or even harmful chemicals and heavy metals. 

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend cleaning your hands in a specific way for maximum effect. This can be seen in our other videos and articles. Ensuring you wash your hands with clean running water after using the correct washing technique will ensure the removal of harmful germs.

Throughout many countries they have now adopted the concept of washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds to ensure a good thorough clean.

Within a pre-hospital setting as Doctors, Paramedics, Technicians and Ambulance Care Assistants we use hand sanitisers for situations where we are unable to get to a wash basin. It’s used between a change of gloves or cleaning a vehicle, maybe after touching a patient or cleaning up some vomit or blood. At every opportunity we will always wash our hands in a wash basin as this is the only sure way of removing any harmful germs and microbes on our skin. 

When buying hand sanitiser, it is important to buy one with an alcohol content of 60% or more and in date. If it isn’t in date, it will not do the job it is meant to; removal of germs!

The thing with hand sanitisers is that they don’t protect you long term… They only actually last for approximately 6 hours. Hand sanitisers will kill the germs on your hands at that moment in time however; as soon as you touch a work surface, door handle, banister your hands become contaminated again and you will need to clean your hands again.

This is why it is important to clean your hands prior to eating, drinking or even toughing your face. It doesn’t matter if you have washed them or used the sanitiser gel in the last hour; you will still need to do it again!

Another thing to note is that these gels don’t work as well if you visibly have dirt on them. Another good reason to go to a wash basin.

Hopefully this has given you enough information to make good decisions as to when you wash your hands in a basin or when it is appropriate to use the sanitiser gel.

If you have further questions, please feel free to look at our other articles and videos. Alternatively, you can pose a question on our forum and one of our professionals will get back to you. 

https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html

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