Thursday, May 5, 2016

10 Simple Solutions to Better Hand Hygiene

Did you know today, May 5th, is World Hand Hygiene Day?

The World Health Organization (WHO) is the force behind an awareness campaign to make sure we're all practicing responsible hand hygiene. It just so happens that this week, through our ForeEdge imprint, we've also released The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World, by Miryam Z. Wahrman—yes, a handbook to understanding the critical importance of maintaining clean hands in your daily life, with advice on best hand hygiene practices.

So what better time to share some of Wahrman's helpful tips? And some may seem like common sense, but often the most obvious are the easiest habits to break. Here are ten things you can and should be doing to keep those hands clean and yourself and others germ-free:

1. Don’t shake hands, do the fist bump. If you do shake hands, be sure to wash up or use alcohol-based hand rub before touching your face or eating.

2. Keep your washing-up areas stocked with plenty of soap and clean cloth towels or paper towels. This is equally as important at home as it is at work.

3. Always keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand rub handy, at work or on the road.

4. If you are a parent of small children, or a caretaker for a family member, keep your charge’s hands clean.

5. Teach your children from the earliest ages to keep their hands clean, in particular, to wash after coming home from school, the playground, or other activities, and before eating.

6. If you are a supervisor at work, develop and encourage hygiene policies for your employees. Your initiative may be as modest or subtle as making sure there is soap and paper towels in the bathrooms and hand rub available in the office.

7. If you work in health care, be vigilant about hand hygiene, cooperate with hygiene policies, and take the initiative to be a role model for others.

8. According to the WHO, 61% of health workers do not clean their hands at right moment. So if you are a patient, politely ask your health worker to wash hands and don gloves. If you are advocating for a family member who is being treated, you should do the same. This is not the time to be bashful or worry about insulting someone.

9. If possible, when buying prepared food, be aware of how your food is handled and ask the food handler to wash hands or don gloves.

10. Learn about local health codes, and advocate for them. Encourage your legislators to develop policies, codes, and laws to further protect consumers.

For more information about World Hand Hygiene Day and how you can spread the word (not the germs), visit the WHO's website.

And to learn even more, including how ancient cultures dealt with disease and hygiene and how scientific developments led to the germ theory, pick up Miryam Wahrman's The Hand Book: Surviving a Germ-Filled World, available now!

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