It’s a habit that’s as simple as it is necessary. A way to help maintain our health without cost or taking up a lot of time.
But unfortunately, when the pandemic arrived, in many homes this practice had been relaxed.
The measures which, just a few years ago, were absolutely anchored in our customs and part of our routines, have lost their force.
And since 2009 (well before the start of the coronavirus pandemic) the WHO had committed to returning to good habits by establishing World Hand Hygiene Day, with the idea that the message would be transmitted across the world and can help save lives.
Of course, since long before, for more than 100 years, it is a message that our grandmothers never tire of repeating.
Entering the house, before eating, after eating, going to the bathroom, coming out of the bathroom, changing, going to bed… and from time to time, they looked at us and gave us this brutal order: “Child, wash your hands!”
- They also told us to wash our faces.
- Let’s put on our sneakers
- Don’t walk around the house in your shoes
- Don’t walk on the carpet
- Change clothes when we arrive…
And these are all very well thought out measures that we should maintain as habits. so that we all stay as far away from infections as possible.
The coronavirus stimulated us
The reality today is that the coronavirus has saved one of the best public health and disease prevention measures we have: hand hygiene.
And washing your hands saves lives, and not just in these post-pandemic times, experts say.
So, even if the prospects seem very clear, Specialists in preventive medicine and public health insist that hand hygiene must continue to be respected.both among healthcare professionals and the general population, regardless of the evolution of the pandemic.
Millions of patients die
As the Spanish Society of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene (SEMPSPH) explains, hand washing not only prevents the spread of SARS-CoV-2 that we also know today, but also that of many other pathogenic microorganisms.
Millions of patients die each year worldwide from infections related to health care.
From them, 56% can be avoided, with hand hygiene being the simplest, most effective and cheapest measure to get it.
But “it is a measure that requires the commitment, collaboration, responsibility and generosity of citizens, patients, caregivers, health professionals and managers,” they explain from SEMPSPH.
- For preventatives, “compliance with hand hygiene is not an optionan opportunity or a simple matter of common sense, but rather a necessity for the prevention of health care-related diseases and infections.
When it comes to health care, it is supported by scientific evidence and specified in the 5 moments of hand hygiene,” they explain.
These 5 moments when the healthcare professional must be particularly careful hand washing is:
- Before touching the patient
- Before performing a clean/aseptic task,
- After risk of exposure to bodily fluids.
- After touching the patient.
- After contact with the patient’s environment.
More soap and water and fewer gloves
One of the first things to disappear from supermarket shelves when the pandemic hit, besides toilet paper, were gloves.
The reality is that since these days the use of this article has increased.
- However, it must be taken into account that Wearing gloves does not exempt you from washing your hands.
Public health experts are blunt:
- “Hand hygiene and use of gloves They can be complementary practices, but never exclusive“.
For example, they give an example. When healthcare workers remove their gloves after treating a patient, they should wash their hands before treating the next patient. Just like they would if they didn’t wear gloves during the consultation.
Why complement the use of gloves with hand washing?
For a very simple reason. Because All gloves, even those for medical use, have pores. And although they are extremely small holes, they can facilitate the entry of microorganisms depending on the time and method of use.
“With good hand hygiene, we could eliminate micro-organisms that could have entered after using the gloves,” they explain from SEMPSPH.
And it doesn’t matter if you use soap and water or hydroalcoholic gels. The important thing is to wash your hands.
In fact, experts In preventive medicine, they positively promote the acceptance of hydroalcoholic gels in the population.
These products, if they are approved and meet the necessary requirements, “They are an excellent tool for performing good hand hygiene. “anywhere and anytime.”
Of course, experts point out that these types of gels are effective if hands are not visibly dirty. And in these cases, where the dirt is easily visible to the naked eye, it is better to resort to the classic of our grandmothers: water and soap.