Hand washing focus must to counter other outbreaks : expert

Hand washing awareness drive held

“Covid pandemic has brought forth the handwashing focus to attention. Now we must ensure that this focus remains. While the pandemic may yet to be over, there may be numerous other outbreaks that we believe can be avoided through good hand hygiene practices.”

This was stated by  Dr. Rachit Duggal, critical care specialist during a handwashing awareness drive conducted at Amcare Hospital, Zirakpur on Friday.

At one time, hand hygiene was uncontroversial and was not recommended as a general medical practice. It was after WHO guidelines when healthcare communities knew immense life-saving benefits of handwashing. But the general public became aware of that after the Covid-19 outbreak, he said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related illnesses and 1 in 5 infections, including the flu, he informed.

The hands are the first way which transmit germs and the cross-transmission of these organisms to others occurs when we fail to wash hands effectively. Touching the eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands and making or eating food with the same hands may spread them out to those we do not want, he said.

Dr. Duggal further informed six steps of handwashing including rubbing palms, rubbing the back of your hands, interlinking the fingers, cupping the fingers, clean thumb, and rub palms with fingers.

Using soap to wash hands is more effective than using water alone because the surfactants in soap lift soil and microbes from the skin, and people tend to scrub hands more thoroughly when using soap, which further removes germs. Sanitizers can be used in many situations. However, disinfectants do not eliminate all types of bacteria. The best way to do this is to carry soap or hand wash in your pocket all the time as recommended by experts, he opined.

Though this is a simple and lifesaving task, ironically it is not always undertaken, he rued.

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