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While hand washing may seem simple enough, many of us do not actually wash our hands properly.
Which unfortunately often results in the spread of illness, especially during food preparation and handling activities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 76 million Americans get sick; more than 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 people die from food borne illnesses each year. Research indicates the bad germs, bacteria, and viruses are most often spread by human hands. Consider for a moment how many germs can live on you hands?
Some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes to two hours or more on surfaces like tables, trays, doorknobs, bars and counters.
According to the CDC, the single most important thing we can do to keep from getting sick our selves and spreading illness to each other is to wash our hands thoroughly.
Hand Sanitizer Is Not The Solution
So you’re thinking hand sanitizer, right? Wrong hand sanitizer can only do so much — preventing MRSA infection isn’t one of those things. Plus hand sanitizer doesn’t remove grease and oil from you hands.
Recent warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration to four makers of popular hand sanitizing products who made claims that the FDA is having trouble supporting, “about preventing infection from E. coli or the flu, or Klebsiella pneumoniae, MRSA, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus.” You can get sick just trying to pronounce some of these bacteria and viruses.
Wondering what the big deal is about MRSA? Don’t treat the spread of MRSA lightly. Check out the information posting http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004520/
MRSA can cause common infections and some uncommon ones that resemble life forms from another planet from a galaxy very far away which sometimes, can even lead to death.
So if you’re counting on a hand sanitizer to protect you, don’t.
When Should Hands Be Washed?
- Beginning of an event or shift
- Prior to setting tables – when handling any flat, glass and stemware
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Prior to serving food to guests
- Before eating food and after eating
- After using the toilet
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching garbage
- After clearing tables
- At the end of an event or shift
- When ever hands get dirty
Five Steps to Successful Hand Washing – Lava las manos correcto mundo
Proper hand washing involves five steps.
Step 1: Wet and wash hands with warm water, which is essential for proper hand washing.
Step 2: Apply soap. Either bar or liquid pump soap. You may need to experiment with the liquid hand soap to find a soap that is non scented, hypoallergenic, and not too aggressive on the hands.
Step 3: It is important to rub hands and finger together vigorously, for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing all surfaces; between fingers, the palms, back of the hands, and wrists.
Keep in mind that the soap combined with the scrubbing “agitation” and foaming lather that helps to dislodge and remove germs and dirt. Clean around and under the fingernails. Use a soft scrub brush if available.
Step 4: Rinse away soap lather with warm water.
Step 5: Dry with paper towels. Use the dampened towel to turn off any spigots or faucets.
Steps To Better Hand Washing
Ok, so this hand washing procedure seems simple enough. Yet when tested most people will fail the hand washing test. So how do we get better or teach successful hand washing?
1. Training: Include effective hand washing as part of orientation and review training with staff. Include notes and reference in the manual in writing. Glo germ and the cdc have some additional materials beyond what is listed here.
2. Inspect, What You expect: Use Glo Germ™ www.glogerm.com the most effective tool to help teach proper cleaning of hands. Check out the video at you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfRVZsPbDJA
Basically you coat your hands with Glo Germ and then proceed to wash your hands. After the washing you expose the hands under a UV light and surprise — see how much area was actually missed during hand washing. The process is an eye opener for most and shows how much icky-icky bacteria, germs and viruses can be left on ones hands.
3. Reinforce: Put up the hand washing poster, download from the CDC or the Glo Germ site. Mention as a reminder from time to time at pre event meetings especially as flu and cold season start.
Remember: Hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of virus’s, bacteria, germs and illness. So wash hands often and thoroughly!