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How To Encourage Handwashing In Your Community

Jun 30, 2020 10:00:00 AM     posted in Infection Prevention

As the world combats COVID-19, consistent handwashing is an effective method of preventing transmission. According to official WHO recommendations, “hand hygiene is extremely important to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It also interrupts transmission of other viruses and bacteria causing common colds, flu and pneumonia, thus reducing the general burden of disease.”

In light of handwashing's role in prevention, the public has a vital part to play in thwarting the spread of the virus. As a healthcare professional, you are uniquely positioned to provide advice and guidance to your community during these difficult times.

Preventative measures for those on the frontlines

Using a statistical model, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projects that there will be an excess demand of 64,175 total beds and 17,309 ICU beds when COVID-19 reaches its peak in the United States. These statistics mean that, in all likelihood, healthcare facilities nationwide are going to exceed their capacities by a significant margin. Already, we’re seeing healthcare workers on the frontline placed under huge amounts of stress as they endeavor to treat their patients.

This is why it’s crucial for the public to know that they are not helpless. In fact, they can directly aid their community’s healthcare workers by consistently observing hand hygiene and refraining from person-to-person contact. Every bit counts in the fight against this global pandemic, especially for the brave men and women who are going above and beyond for the public.

What the public needs to know

Informing your community is only half the battle. Global Hand Washing Partnership has provided a concise checklist on how to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus with handwashing:

  • The CDC recommends washing your hands for no less than 20 seconds with soap and water, especially after visiting shops, touching surfaces that may be infected (such as laptops or door handles) or using the bathroom.
  • If there is no soap available, a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used. These sanitizers can render various microbes inactive, such as the coronavirus.
  • Normal soap has been shown to be just as effective as its antibacterial counterpart because both work to remove germs from your skin.

For the public in general, handwashing seems easy enough, but they need to know that there is a precise method to follow to ensure that they’re getting to all areas of the skin. The WHO outlines the following detailed approach (with illustrations, which can be found in their infographic here):

  1. 1.) Start by wetting hands with water and covering all skin surfaces with soap.
  2. 2.) Lather the soap by rubbing hands palm to palm.
  3. 3.) Place the right palm over the left dorsum with interlaced fingers, and do the same for the other side.
  4. 4.) With fingers still interlaced, rub palm to palm again and then wash using the backs of the fingers to opposing palms with fingers still interlocked.
  5. 5.) Rub the left thumb in a rotational fashion while held in the right palm, and repeat with the other hand.
  6. 6.) Swap over to the fingers and continue rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with fingers of the right hand held in the left, and vice versa.
  7. 7.) Rinse and dry thoroughly with a single-use towel, using the same towel to turn off the faucet.

To help you get the message across, WHO has provided a handy educational video which you can watch and use below:

By letting your community know that they can play an active, pivotal role in protecting their healthcare workers, you are there for them in a time of helplessness and great uncertainty.

Effective supplementary measures 

As awareness grows around the importance of handwashing, so will the public’s empathetic drive to take action that protects our healthcare providers. As healthcare professionals, we can lead by example and share our knowledge with our communities to inspire and motivate them.

Ventyv® takes pride in being able to support our heroic healthcare workers with the measures they need to protect themselves from infection. Our disposable examination gloves provide that extra layer of protection against the spread of infection. They are as dependable as they are comfortable, offering a strong line of defense with high quality barrier protection that aids in infection prevention.

Every positive action counts in the fight against COVID-19. Subscribe to our blog to learn more about Ventyv® or about the pandemic and the protective measures we can all take together.

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