World Hand Hygiene Day is held every year on 5 May. The event was inaugurated by WHO in 2009, which also deliberately chose the date as a handy reminder in order to make the day more memorable. Two times five fingers – the fifth day plus the fifth month – symbolise human hands. While plenty has already been said about hand hygiene, attention still needs to be focused on this important topic. This is also highlighted in a report from WHO, which notes that millions of people around the world still lack access to sanitary facilities where they can wash their hands. This report, ‘State of the World’s Hand Hygiene’, is the first of its kind and is intended as a global call to action to make hand hygiene a priority in policy and practice.
Hand hygiene: minimising the transmission of infection
While Germany is comparatively well off in this respect, hand hygiene is also a topic where awareness needs to be regularly refreshed. Hand washing using soap and water as a general, day-to-day activity is extremely effective at boosting community resilience. One of the goals of this event was to promote hand hygiene as a universal concept in healthcare facilities such as hospitals and nursing homes as well as in day nurseries and schools. All of these buildings are used to house at-risk individuals and some may also have weakened immune systems. Regular, prolonged handwashing can minimise the transmission of infectious disease. According to figures from WHO, 80 percent of all infectious diseases are transmitted by hand contact and touching surfaces. Handwashing with soap and water reduces bacterial and viral counts on hands by up to 99.9 percent. Several rules must be followed to achieve this. The figure shows how ‘proper’ handwashing works:
Electronic fittings for hygienic handwashing
Hand hygiene is greatly improved by the use of electronic fittings: these do not need to be touched after handwashing and some models work entirely without hand contact. This avoids contact infections that result from touching a potentially contaminated tap or fitting after washing the hands. SCHELL can offer the right (electronic) fitting for any application. Go here to browse SCHELL’s product portfolio for wash basins. SCHELL fittings are intuitive to use and a popular choice, thanks to their timeless design. As handwashing becomes a pleasure rather than an inconvenience, this helps to improve health – and not only on World Hand Hygiene Day.