Tag Archives: handwashing

From Other Blogs: Staying hydrated, healthy summer cookouts, handwashing & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Five tips to stay hydrated and healthy this summer

In South Carolina, you can always count on a hot summer. While your family enjoys fun activities like summer camps for children, summer training for athletes and days by the beach or lake, increased temperatures will make your body produce more sweat to keep you cool. This makes adults, children and athletes struggle with staying hydrated. Just 2 to 3 pounds of sweat loss during physical activity can lead to dehydration. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Five tips for a healthy and safe summer cookout

The summer season brings outdoor activities including family reunions, cookouts and picnics. Lisa Akly, Palmetto Health Heart Hospital dietitian, shares five tips to ensure that your outdoor meals are not only healthy but safe as well. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Millions of Americans with Dirty Hands Are Spreading Dangerous Bacteria

Have you ever seen someone handling food in a way that you would never do yourself? Maybe they were preparing raw poultry and then immediately handled lettuce without washing their hands. Or maybe they did wash their hands, but they dried them by wiping them on their pants. You would never do that, right? Then again, maybe there are things we all do that might increase our risk for foodborne illness. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Protect Your Hearing This Summer and Year Round!

The National Center for Environmental Health at CDC encourages you to show off your noisecancelling headphones while participating in noisy activities this summer. Snap a photo of yourself, your family, and your friends, and share on social media. Be certain to tag your photo to #SafeHearingSelfie.

Below are some suggestions of noisy activities… From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Your Health — Your Environment blog

From Other Blogs: Handwashing and food, arthritis, preparing for a hurricane or tropical storm & more

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Give Yourself a Hand!

“Clean vs. dirty” is a concept that seems easy enough to understand. You know your jeans are dirty when they get grass stains on them, because you can easily see the stains. Seeing bacteria on your food is a different story. All foodborne bacteria are microscopic and can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it difficult to know if your foods have been cross-contaminated. Bacteria may come into contact with our foods from contaminated cooking equipment, utensils and even our hands. According to the 2016 FDA Food Safety Survey (PDF, 530 KB) Americans are doing well to prevent cross contamination from some common sources, but not all. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Five common myths about arthritis

More than 50 million Americans are affected by arthritis, a painful and often debilitating condition that limits quality of life. Arthritis is defined as inflammation involving a joint and is characterized by joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased range of motion. Some forms are also associated with damage to the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin. It is the leading cause of disability in the United States and accounts for 172 million missed days of work, translating to $165 billion in lost wages and medical bills. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

UTI symptoms all women should know

Urinary tract infections are one of the most frequent clinical bacterial infections in women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“If you are a woman, chances are you will have at least one urinary tract infection (UTI) during your lifetime,” said Katie Schill, nurse practitioner with Palmetto Health’s Mobile Clinic. “UTIs do not just afflict women. Men can develop UTIs as well, just not as commonly. And contrary to some belief, a UTI is not a reflection on one’s hygiene.” — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Preparing for a Hurricane or a Tropical Storm

You can’t stop a tropical storm or hurricane, but you can take steps now to protect you and your family.

If you live in areas at risk, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages you to begin preparing for hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 through November 30 each year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health — Your Environment blog

Women: Take Time for Self-Care. You’re Worth It!

My late grandmother, Ms. Anne E. Larkins, was an accomplished elementary school principal and teacher when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 1983. In her typical solutions-focused way, she sought to understand the disease and how best to manage it. She modeled steps a cancer survivor must take to live a longer, healthier life. — From the CDC’s The Topic Is Cancer blog

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Handwashing In Fighting Germs

When it comes to protecting yourself and others and putting a stop to the spread of germs, don’t underestimate the power of handwashing.

Regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and keep from spreading germs to others. It is particularly important to wash your hands at appropriate times when engaged in certain activities, such as before, during and after preparing food, after using the toilet and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. So, how should you wash your hands to make sure they are clean? Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If you need a timer, hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

If clean, running water is not accessible, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean your hands.

Visit the CDC’s website for more information on handwashing. Also, view the video below for instructions on how to effectively wash your hands.

Tips To Help Make Your Trip To The S.C. State Fair Healthy And Enjoyable

 

scstatefair - fair gate 2.JPG

Photos courtesy of S.C. State Fair.

The 148th annual S.C. State Fair will soon be open (October 11-22) and attendees of all ages will once again enjoy funnel cakes, live music, and amusement rides. To help ensure you enjoy your time at the fair, listed below are a few health tips to keep in mind while strolling beneath the neon lights of the Midway.

Always Wash Your Hands

When

  • Before eating and drinking
  • Before and after visiting animal exhibits
  • After using the restroom

    scstatefair - hand washing.JPG

    Courtesy of S.C. State Fair

  • After playing a carnival game
  • After going on a ride

How

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if running water is not available.

“Keeping hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy.” (CDC, 2017)

Things to Avoid

  • Don’t take food or drinks into animal exhibits.
  • Don’t eat, drink, or place anything in your mouth while visiting animal exhibits.
  • Don’t take toys, pacifiers, cups, baby bottles, or strollers into animal exhibits.

    scstatefair - pigs

    Courtesy of S.C. State Fair

  • Don’t enter animal exhibits if you are experiencing any type of illness, particularly flu-like symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, sore throat).
  • Avoid close contact with any animals who appear ill.

Things to Remember

  • Eat ‘hot’ foods while they are still hot and eat ‘cold’ foods while they are still cold.
  • Take extra care to observe these health tips when visiting animal exhibits to prevent diarrheal illness and other infections that animals may carry. This is particularly important for certain groups, including:
    • Children younger than 5 years of age
    • Adults 65 years and older
    • Pregnant women
    • People with long-term health conditions such as, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, weakened immune systems, and neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
  • Seek medical attention if you develop a fever accompanied with cough and/or sore throat, diarrhea, and/or vomiting within several days after visiting the fair.

Following these tips will help prevent infections.  Have fun!

 Resources

Center for Disease Control Food Safety at Fairs and Festivals

KNOW How to be Safe Around Animals

Take Action to Prevent the Spread of Flu Between Pigs and People

Wash Your Hands

World Hand Hygiene Day is May 5

Natasha Wright, RN, MSN
DHEC HAI Nurse Consultant

While there won’t be a cake with several tiers, beautiful gowns or champagne toasts, hand hygiene is definitely a subject worthy of its own day to “celebrate.”

In the pursuit of preventing all healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) urge all health care facilities and organizations to join us in highlighting the single most important practice supported by evidence in helping eliminate cross-contamination and reduce HAIs—proper and thorough hand hygiene2.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. There are three areas most often missed by health care providers when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer: thumbs, fingertips and between fingers1.
  4. 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?

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.html

World Health Organization (WHO) Save Lives: Clean Your Hands Campaign

Theme for 2017–Fight antibiotic resistance – it’s in your hands

who.int/gpsc/5may/en/

 References:

  1. CDC. (2016). Show Me the Science. cdc.gov/handhygiene/science/index.html
  2. Infection Control Today. (2017). infectioncontroltoday.com/topics/hand-hygiene.aspx
  3. Saint, S. (2016). Hand washing stops infections, so why do health care workers skip it? theconversation.com/hand-washing-stops-infections-so-why-do-health-care-workers-skip-it-58763
  4. WHO. (2017). My 5 Moments for Hand Hygiene. who.int/gpsc/5may/background/5moments/en/