The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recommended not wearing gloves when out shopping or in public areas.
They state that hand hygiene is one of the most important things that we can do to stop the spread of Covid-19 infection.
Hand hygiene day
Today (May 5th) marks the World Health Organisation Hand Hygiene Day, which intends to promote increased adherence to hand hygiene in health care facilities in order to protect health care workers and patients from infections.
Every year, health organisations find a new way to promote the importance of hand hygiene in preventing infection. For this year’s campaign, a HSE representative stated that preventing infection with Covid-19 is now on everyone’s mind.
Professor Martin Cormican, HSE national lead for antibiotic resistance and infection control, commented on the number of people using disposable gloves in everyday life, saying: “One of our key messages this year for hand hygiene day is that we do not recommend using gloves while doing your shopping or when you are out and about.”
“If there are bugs on your gloves those bugs often end up on your hands when you take the gloves off and, from there, they can very easily end up in your mouth, nose and eyes. It’s much better to clean your hands regularly and properly.”
Professor Cormican highlighted hand hygiene as one of the most important things we can do in the battle against COVID-19. He revealed that recent research from the HSE has shown a positive change in behaviour in regard to to hand washing.
“96% of people are washing their hands more often as a result of Covid-19. The research also shows that 90% of people who are looking ahead say that they will continue to wash their hands frequently after the pandemic.”
“We want people to keep on going with their hand hygiene, help your children to learn good hand hygiene and help us to stop the spread of Covid-19 and other infections.”
How you can help protect yourself and your family
The HSE recommend that you wash your hands properly and often:
- After coughing or sneezing;
- Before and after eating;
- Before and after preparing food;
- Before and after touching an open sore or cut;
- After using the toilet;
- After changing a child’s nappy;
- If you were in contact with someone who has a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing);
- Before and after being on public transport;
- On entering and before leaving buildings, including your home;
- After touching animals or animal waste;
- After removing gloves, if you wear gloves;
- Before and after entering a hospital or residential setting.
How clean is your tech?
The HSE has also highlighted the importance of regular cleaning of computers, phones and other devices. Research has shown that these devices are full of bacteria.
Their study found that a mouse has an average of 260 bacteria per square centimetre, a keyboard has 511/cm2, and the mouthpiece of a telephone has an impressive 3,895/cm2.
The public health organisation have said that the handles, taps and air dryers are the most dangerous areas of a toilet when it comes to bacterial infections.
Drying your hands with paper towel will reduce the bacterial count by 45 to 60% on your hands. However, using a hand dryer will increase the bacteria on your hands by up to 255% because it blows out bacteria already living in the dryer’s warm, moist environment, according to the HSE.