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A Guide to Hand Hygiene

Jul 30, 2020

Washing vs Sanitising Vs Gloves – Which is best?

Hand hygiene is one of the biggest defenses we have against infection and transmission of bacteria and viruses. By understanding the impact your hands can have on your environment and own personal health, you can help provide a barrier against transmission. Whilst information has been readily accessible over the last 3 months with COVID-19, it is best to understand when it is best to use soap and water, when to use santiser and also using gloves.

Soap and water are the first line of defense for hand hygiene. It is extremely important in all workplaces that people are washing their hands thoroughly. Correct washing technique indicates around 20 seconds of washing time before and after preparing food, before eats, caring for someone who is sick, after using the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, touching animals or handling their food, general rubbish or handling currency. These sort of activities can leave your hands with bacteria or virus which could be potentially harmful to you or others. Using an antibacterial soap like Nowchem Ocean Blue will help remove and eliminate potential spread.

Using an alcohol based hand sanitizer is the second line of defense in hand hygiene. Applying alcohol based hand rub through either a spray, gel or foam again helps kill and protect your hands from transmission. With the increase in hand sanitizer awareness, it is important to understand that your hands must be dry before application, hands must be clean before use and the alcohol should be above 70% for effective sanitization in most cases. Hand sanitizing should be implemented where hand washing is not available or when hand sanitation is required.

Using gloves is the third line of defense in hand hygiene. It must be understood that using gloves does not provide complete protection against bacteria and viruses. Gloves are used when there is more potential risks of infection to limit the need for washing and sanitizing. Gloves should be used once you have thoroughly washed and dried your hands, sanitized your hand, and require additional protection to remove potential infection. Gloves can aid in transmission of bacteria and viruses if not disposed of after single use, ensure you are only using them for one specific purpose and discard once completed. Ensure that before you put gloves on, inspect the gloves for any imperfections, if any are found, discard and use another pair.

When dealing with sanitization and disinfecting chemicals, it is also important to wear gloves. Whilst the chemicals are not corrosive by nature, they can be irritable to your skin after long term exposure. Whenever you are using industrial style chemicals, it is always advisable to where gloves and any required PPE, either disposable or chemical resistant gloves, to protect yourself from harm.

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