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Clean Hands All Around


What do moms everywhere and infection control experts have in common? They're both big on instilling the habit of hand washing. So simple and so good for you, yet if the truth be told, a good number of people would have 2 dirty little secrets they'd unknowingly freely share with people they meet. Enter the Henry the Hand Foundation. Their mission is to protect innocent and unaware people from infectious diseases and their potential outbreaks.

They say charity begins at home so how are we healthcare professionals doing when it comes to hand washing? Most people picture clinicians as always scrubbing up prior to carrying out one procedure or another, and this is true. But what about in between patients, after lunch, bathroom visits, or other activities? Well, maybe not as well as we ought to. Experts estimate that we, healthcare professionals, (yes, I'm going down with the Titanic too) only comply with the recommended hand hygiene procedures, get this, less than 50% of the time! Can you say "nosocomial infection"? People seem to be taking a keen interest in germs and bugs lately, just a few months ago a couple of local TV stations ran stories about MRSA infections. Now I'm not trying to imply that this is only or even the main reason that approximately two million hospitalized patients in the U.S. develop infections each year, of which eighty thousand die, but maybe the hand hygiene habits of health care workers contributes to that...maybe? The good thing is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel and organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in collaboration with others such as the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), and the Institute of Healthcare Improvement are doing something about it. Also, medical facilities and individual health practitioners are also putting in the extra effort to help prevent the unnecessary spread of infections and germs, you can check out what others are doing here.

Of course the best solution is usually the simplest thing, so in honor of National Handwashing Awareness Week, turn on the water, slather on some soap, slap those palms together, and let's get washing.

Images courtesy of katmere and the Henry the Hand Foundation
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The Healthline Editorial team writes about the latest health news, policy, and research.

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