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Optimal hand hygiene reduces the transmission of pathogens
On the occasion of the International Hand Hygiene Day, health experts draw attention to the importance of hand washing every year. This simple and quick measure drastically reduces the risk of infectious diseases. But washing your hands has to be thorough enough.
Many infectious diseases are transmitted through the hands
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 80 percent of all infectious diseases are transmitted through the hands. According to doctors, the risk of developing gastrointestinal infections, diarrhea, flu or the common cold can be significantly reduced by washing your hands properly. However, hygiene is often neglected. Reason enough for health experts to point out this important measure on the occasion of the upcoming World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5th.
Takes only half a minute
Washing hands is the most important hygiene rule. It can significantly reduce the risk of various diseases.
To achieve protection against infectious diseases, however, hand washing must be correct and long enough.
It should take at least 20 to 30 seconds. A song can help here. The children's aid organization Unicef once recommended that children sing Happy Birthday twice while washing their hands.
This is the optimal time to remove most dangerous bacteria and viruses. The advice for children is not wrong for adults either.
Hand hygiene in healthcare facilities
Hand hygiene in health facilities is even more important than in private life. There, too, it is the simplest and most effective measure to prevent the transmission of pathogens and thus the occurrence of infections.
According to Elisabeth Presterl, head of the University Hospital for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Control at MedUni Vienna and AKH Vienna, hand hygiene with hand disinfection before and after patient contact, whether by a doctor or from a visit, reduces the risk of infection by 30 percent.
“Hand hygiene is particularly important in a hospital. Also for the visitors, ”said the expert in a message. “It is equally important that nobody who is sick comes to visit. The risk of infection is too high, ”said Presterl.
Children can be dirty too
However, the doctor thinks nothing of "exaggerated" hygiene in children in everyday life: "You should also be a child and sometimes dirty, but when you come home and after the toilet, hand washing is very important."
According to the expert, optimal hand hygiene reduces the risk of infection by 30 percent - with a simple and very short job: "Hand hygiene is simple, effective and takes less than 30 seconds, but can save lives," emphasized Presterl.
"Due to the increasing number of multi-resistant pathogens, the importance of preventing the transmission of infections and their pathogens has to be reminded again and again."
According to the information, international studies have shown that an increase in the hand disinfection rate from 48 percent to 66 percent leads to a reduction in infections from 17 to 10 percent. (ad)