Infection Control

The importance of good hand washing techniques

We all know the importance of washing our hands after using the bathroom but despite this, a large percentage of Brits still aren’t doing this. In the UK, 95 out of every 100 people claim that they wash their hands after using the toilet but in reality, only 65 in 100 actually do.

While it may not seem like a big deal to give our hands a quick rinse or even not bother at all, there are a number of shocking statistics which suggest otherwise:

  • Eight out of ten infectious diseases are spread by touch
  • Passing on bacteria and infections with our hands is almost entirely avoidable by washing our hands using soap and water
  • Figures from the Infection Prevention Society (IPS) suggest that children missing days off school because of infections can be reduced by 20% if proper hand washing techniques are used
  • Respiratory infections can be reduced by almost 17% with good hand hygiene

With World Toilet Day just around the corner, now seems like a great time to raise awareness about improving hygiene in the bathroom. The UN has dedicated the 19th of November to raising awareness about the billions of people in the world who do not have access to a toilet or proper sanitation. This may be something we all take for granted but out of the seven billion people in the world, 2.4 billion still don’t have proper sanitation.

Even though the UK is lucky enough to have proper toilet facilities, not carrying out good hygiene practices can still increase the risk of disease. Below are just a few more reasons why good hand washing techniques should become a habit.

Prevents the spread of illnesses

 Thorough hand washing is one of the most important things we can do to help prevent and control the spread of illnesses. From flu and food poisoning to more serious conditions, there are a number of diseases which can be passed on by not washing our hands properly.

To put it into perspective, according to a report carried out by the BBC, the average office contains over 20,000 germs per square inch. These germs are passed back and forth via communal items such as phones, coffee machines and anything we come into contact with in the bathroom. By not washing our hands, we’re helping to spread the germs we come into contact with rather than eliminate them.

Bathrooms are full of bacteria

 The average person is left with a staggering 200 million bacteria per square inch on their hands after using the bathroom. Although we encounter bacteria on a daily basis that causes us no harm whatsoever, bathroom bacteria is different and can be very harmful.

A quick rinse won’t suffice either. Medical experts say that we should be scrubbing our hands with soap for at least 15 seconds before we rinse in order to eliminate bacteria as much as we can.

We transfer fecal matter

Some of the most harmful bacteria we encounter originates in the bathroom and they’re easily spread to other parts of our lives by people who don’t wash their hands after using the toilet. According to research carried out by the Metro newspaper, 10% of credit cards and more than 16% of mobile phones have fecal matter on them.

Even more alarming figures come from an American study which found that an incredible 94% of dollar bills had pathogens on them, including fecal matter.

For more information about preventing the spread of bacteria through proper hand sanitation, please feel free to read our Hand Care Services page.


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