Columbia, SC (WLTX) The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) received a report of a confirmed case of measles in a resident who lives in Georgetown County on Friday, August 10, from a local healthcare provider.
DHEC has begun a contact investigation and is notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings.
ROCK HILL – Cases of hand, foot and mouth disease have been popping up in York County. But that’s just one of several contagious diseases parents should watch for as school starts Aug. 20.
Parents also should also be mindful of pink eye, respiratory infections and other illnesses that are easily transmitted in a school setting, said Dr. Arash Poursina, infectious disease specialist for Piedmont Medical Center.
“As school starts, we do usually see a spike in the number of upper respiratory infections,” he said.
A recent USA Today story called attention to the fact that the United States is falling behind other developed nations with an increase in maternal mortality.
For South Carolina’s hospitals, our top priority is to implement a “Zero Harm” culture at our facilities, focused on providing the highest quality care to the patients we serve. That’s why we are committed to working with stakeholders to improve maternal health in our state.
Up to 70 percent of HAIs that occur yearly could be prevented if health care workers follow recommended protocols, which include proper hand washing3. Even with all of the evidence of its effectiveness and emphasis placed on the importance of hand cleanliness, a 2010 study that examined research on global practices found that only roughly 40 percent of health care workers comply with recommended hand washing guidelines3.
A Few (Not-So-Fun) Facts:
Studies show that some health care providers practice hand hygiene less than half of the times they should. Health care providers might need to clean their hands as many as 100 times per 12-hour shift, depending on the number of patients and intensity of care. Know what it could take to keep your patients safe1.
On any given day, about 1 in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. Many germs that cause these infections are spread from patient to patient on the hands of health care providers1.
There are three areas most often missed by health care providers when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer: thumbs, fingertips and between fingers1.
A few barriers to completely following recommended guidelines are3:
Inconvenient placement of sinks and/or hand sanitizer dispensers, or empty soap or sanitizer dispensers;
Health care workers concerned about drying out their skin;
Overlooking hand cleanliness due to the workload of a health care worker and/or a chaotic environment;
The belief that wearing gloves when providing care is sufficient in preventing the spread of germs.
Hand Sanitizer or Soap and Water1?
An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the preferred method for cleaning your hands when they are not visibly dirty because it:
Is more effective at killing potentially deadly germs on hands than soap;
Requires less time;
Is more accessible than hand washing sinks;
Reduces bacterial counts on hands;
Improves skin condition with less irritation and dryness than soap and water.
Use soap and water when hands are visibly soiled and/or when working with a patient or an environment in which you may come into contact with contaminants.
Although the amount of time for proper hand washing with soap and water varies from 15 seconds to 30 seconds (depending on the study), hands should be vigorously scrubbed for a minimum of 15 seconds.
Remember “My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene”4:
Before touching a patient;
Before clean/aseptic procedures;
After body fluid exposure/risk;
After touching a patient;
After touching a patient’s surroundings.
Still Room for Improvement
In a world where health care is continuously changing, one thing has remained constant—routine and thorough hand washing is essential for preventing the spread of germs (including the increasing threat of those resistant to antibiotics) and the development of HAIs in patients. While the health care field is far from the days when gloves were barely worn and hand hygiene was an afterthought, we are not at 100 percent compliance in our facilities. Whether it is through the use of the traditional soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers, proper handwashing must continue to be highlighted and emphasized by all champions of infection prevention because it is one practice that will remain constant for years to come.
Useful Resources for World Hand Hygiene Day
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Clean Hands Count Campaign