Hand Hygiene Day - May 5th
Thursday 27 April 2017

Every year, hundreds of millions of patients around the world are affected by health care associated infections. These infections can be a massive financial loss to the healthcare system and can even sometimes prove to be fatal.  Figures show that 1 in every 100 hundred hospitalized patients in developed countries will acquire a health care associated infection, and this figure increases to 7 in every 100 in developing countries.

So what are Health care associated infections?

Health care associated infections, or “nosocomial” infections affect patients in hospitals or health care facilities such as nursing homes and were not present at the time of the patient’s admission.

Factors such as a weakened immune system, prolonged stays in Intensive care units, high risk procedures/surgeries or prolonged use of antibiotics are all likely to increase a patient’s risk of developing a health care associated infection. Here in the UK and other developed countries, urinary tract infections remain our most frequent health care associated infection.

Normally these infections do not receive much public attention unless there is a large outbreak or epidemic within a particular hospital trust or local area. Because of this, the general public are more aware of ‘super bugs’ such as MRSA or Clostridium difficile but are unaware of the importance of reducing the spread of other infections.

So what can we do?

Practicing good effective hand hygiene is one of the simplest and most cost effective ways of reducing the spread of health care associated infections. The use of soap and water or alcohol gels regularly are effective ways of helping to reduce the spread of bacteria.  By reducing the spread of germs we also will cut down on the amount of antibiotics being used, which helps to stop antibiotic resistance.

Here at North Downs Hospital we will be celebrating World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5th 2017. Promoting and practising effective hand hygiene is something our staff take pride in all year long.  However our patients and their relatives need to practice good hand hygiene too if we are going to reduce the spread of infections. On May 5th we will be giving our patients, relatives and staff the opportunity to see just how clean their hands are! We will also be demonstrating good hand washing techniques.  So please do stop by if you want any advice or are interested in what our infection control nurse has to demonstrate.

For more information see http://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/en/

Tips for when to wash your hands

* Before eating or handling food

* After using the toilet

* After blowing your nose or coughing

* After touching animals or animal waste

* After handling rubbish

* After changing nappies

* Before or after you touch a sick person

* Before and after visiting a hospital ward.  Alcohol based hand rubs will be available in all hospitals


Hand Hygiene Facts

- Faecal bacteria are present on 26% of hands in the UK, 14% of banknotes and 10% of credit cards according to a study by hygiene experts from Queen Mary University of London.

- Findings suggest 11% of the populations hands are grossly contaminated and carry as many germs as a toilet bowl.

- A study at a UK service station with electronic recording devices revealed only 32% of men and 64% of women washed their hands after using the toilet.

- The average person’s hands carry at least 3000 different types of bacteria

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