When and How to Clean Your Phone During the COVID-19 Outbreak

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to clean commonly touched surfaces.

One type of surface that we touch frequently is our phone touch screen.
Phone touch screens can usually be cleaned using disinfecting wipes, but check with the maker of your phone first.
Frequency of cleaning will vary depending on your habits and the likelihood of exposure.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub and follow our live updates page for the most recent information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, there has been much attention placed on preventive actionsTrusted Source, such as handwashing, staying home when we are sick, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces.

Regarding the latter, however, there is one type of surface that we may be neglecting: the touch screens and carrying cases for our phones.

“Touch screens on our devices are an often overlooked source of microbes that can be brought into our personal space,” noted Dr. David Westenberg, associate professor of biological sciences at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

In fact, numerous studiesTrusted Source have found that our cellphones can be carriers of microbial life forms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

While many of these are harmless, according to Westenberg, there are also disease-causing organisms like the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can survive on surfaces long enough to be transmitted to you or another person.
Do you need to be cleaning your phone?

If you are washing your hands already, just how important is it to also clean your phone?

Westenberg said that if people wash their hands before touching their devices, that would ordinarily be enough to prevent us from transferring the virus through touch.

“However, as often as we touch our devices, washing our hands before every new contact with the device would be impractical,” he said.

In fact, according to a 2019 survey by research firm dscout, the average person touches their cellphone 2,617 times daily.

In light of this fact, Westenberg said wiping down the touch screens and cases of our phones “should be a part of our routine.”

How to clean your phone

First and foremost, you will want to consult the website for the manufacturer of your phone or carrying case for any specific instructions that they might have in order to avoid damaging your device or case.

Many manufacturers, including Apple, have provided recommendations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While specific instructions may vary depending on your device, Apple is advising the following for its products:

Use only a soft, lint-free cloth.
Avoid excessive wiping.
Unplug all power sources, devices, and cables.
Keep liquids away from your device.
Don’t allow moisture to get into any openings.
Avoid aerosol sprays, bleaches, and abrasives.
Avoid spraying cleaners directly onto your device.

Apple is recommending the use of 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipes or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes to wipe down any hard, nonporous surfaces.

However, they say you should avoid using them on leather or fabric to prevent damage.

According to Dr. Donald W. Schaffner, extension specialist in food science and distinguished professor at Rutgers University, these are “fairly gentle disinfectants.”

However, you should avoid using chlorine bleach, according to Schaffner. This could damage your phone.

Westenberg further suggested that keeping your phone in a sealed case will make it easier to wipe it down with disinfectant wipes.


How often should you clean your phone?

According to Schaffner, the most likely way that your device would become contaminated with high levels of the virus is for someone to sneeze or cough near it.

Microscopic droplets containing the virus could then settle on the phone, he explained.

So, if you have been near anyone who is coughing or sneezing, it would be a good idea to clean your phone.

In addition, according to Westenberg, it would be a good idea to clean your phone “on a regular basis,” although not necessarily every time you touch it.

As far as the frequency, this will vary with your habits, said Westenberg.

“If you are being diligent about washing your hands, you would need to clean the screen less often, maybe once or twice a day.

“If you are putting your phone down on a potentially contaminated surface, washing your hands infrequently, et cetera, then I would recommend more often,” he said.

Schaffner said he thinks it’s important to stress, however, that unless you are in a home with someone who has SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it’s relatively unlikely that your phone has any virus on it.

“I don’t think there’s any reason to clean your phone more than once a day,” he said, unless it’s potentially been exposed to the virus.

https://www.healthline.com

Written by Nancy Schimelpfening
March 18, 2020 — Fact checked by Jennifer Chesak

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Key Times to Clean your Hands

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

• Before, during, and after preparing food
• Before and after eating food
• Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
• Before and after treating a cut or wound
• After using the toilet
• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
• After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
• After handling pet food or pet treats
• After touching garbage

The guidance for the list of key times to wash hands was developed based on data from a number of studies. There can also be other times when it is important to wash hands.

To prevent the spread of germs during the COVID-19 pandemic, you should also wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean hands BEFORE and AFTER:

• Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
• Touching your mask
• Entering and leaving a public place
• Touching an item or surface that may be frequently touched by other people, such as door handles, tables, gas pumps, shopping carts, or electronic cashier registers/screens

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COVID-19: How to sanitise vegetables, milk packets, deliveries and more

Washing vegetables with soap and water? Using hydrogen peroxide for disinfecting surfaces? While you may be protecting yourself from the Coronavirus, you may end up exposing yourself to toxic chemicals that could lead to a gastrointestinal infection. Read our medical expert’s advice, to prevent yourself from falling in the trap of unscientific ways and methods.

While every household tries out ways to keep the COVID-19 disease at bay, what about those surfaces that you invariably touch on a daily basis? Experts have warned that respiratory droplets on such surfaces, could be a major source for the spread of the Coronavirus. Housing.com News reached out to Dr Gaurav Singh, senior medical officer, Central Coalfields Ltd and ex-resident, AIIMS Bhubaneswar for some tips.

“It is important to understand that sanitising raw vegetables, milk packets and daily-touch objects was always important and not just because of the Coronavirus. Some people have started using detergent and water to clean raw vegetables. The problem with such techniques, is that it is nearly impossible to prevent contamination due to soap or detergent. Therefore, one may end up with a gastrointestinal infection, as a result of using unscientific ways,” says Singh. To prevent COVID-19 one merely has to follow some simple hygiene practices and follow it, irrespective of whether there is a pandemic or not.

Viruses are assemblies of, say, proteins, nucleic acids, lipids and carbohydrates and need living cells to thrive. Therefore, outside your body, the Coronavirus is as good as ‘dead’. It cannot do anything to surfaces but you can be affected, if you touch the contaminated surface. Now, with the new strain of the Coronavirus, called the VUI-202012/01 which is reportedly 70% more likely to spread, one must be careful.

Follow the simple and effective tips by Dr Singh, to keep yourself and your family safe from the Coronavirus.

How to clean vegetables/raw food?

Viruses do not grow on food but raw vegetables can be a good vehicle for it. Did you know that Hepatitis A was linked to diced tomatoes, lettuce and raspberries? An infected person can contaminate the food and pass on the virus. Seafood, if it comes in contact with faeces of an infected person can also harm you. Viruses have a higher resistance to chemical treatments than bacteria or fungi. So how should you prevent contamination?

Wash raw vegetables in hot water or hot water with salt.
You could also try washing the vegetables multiple times with potable water.
Hydrogen peroxide/potassium permanganate is used by many households but it is far more effective on bacteria than on viruses.
If you are using soap and water to clean the raw vegetables, make sure that the remnants of the soap on the surface is also cleaned well. It is difficult to wash off such stains and soap particles. Soap stains are often visible on plates, even after you wash them. The same stands true for vegetables. In fact, it is more difficult to remove soap from the surface of vegetables.
It is best to avoid eating raw food/salads now. Cooked food minimises the risk of infection. Make sure food is properly cooked. If you use raw vegetables in salads, clean these with extra care.
You may want to wear gloves, when you are handling/buying vegetables and fruits. Make sure you wash these gloves once you are home.
Do not place vegetables brought from outside, straight on the kitchen counter.
If there are vegetables that cannot be washed as soon as you bring it in, try to keep it in a closed space and do not cook or consume within three to four hours.
Most households use domestic help and cooks, who help us on a day-to-day basis. To be fully satisfied about cleanliness, do the cleaning yourself or train your domestic help to do so.


Food safety measures to consider

According to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), you must follow the guidelines mentioned below:

Keep away food packets bought from outside. Avoid keeping it directly in the refrigerator.
Potable water is enough to clean fruits and vegetables. You may use 50 ppm drop of chlorine, if available.
Avoid soaps, disinfectants or cleaning products and wipes on fruits and vegetables.
Washed food should not be kept just about anywhere in your house. Keep it in a dedicated space, so that it does not get contaminated by staying on some other daily-touch surface.
Packets can be cleaned with soap or an alcohol-based solution.
Disinfect the sink after cleaning the food products.


How to sanitise milk packets?

Hot water and soap is the best way to clean these packets. Avoid placing unwashed packets in the refrigerator or pouring the milk into a vessel, without washing the packet first.

Published: https://housing.com

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10 things you need at home in case you or a family member gets COVID-19

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Despite taking the necessary precautions—social distancing, washing hands, wearing a mask in public—there’s still a risk that you or a family member could contract COVID-19. With coronavirus cases on the rise across the country and holiday travel coming up, it’s more important than ever to be prepared if someone you live with gets sick.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that most people who contract COVID-19 will only have a mild case and can probably recover at home, there are necessary precautions to take to prevent the spread of the virus in your household. This includes having a designated sick room and bathroom as well as a designated person to care for those who are sick. It’s also necessary to disinfect surfaces regularly and for everyone to wash their hands frequently.

The CDC also recommends keeping those with an increased risk for severe illness separate, and if someone’s coronavirus symptoms worsen or they have trouble breathing to get them medical attention immediately.

Hopefully, no one in your household contracts the coronavirus, but it’s always best to prepare for the worst. Here are all the things you should have on hand if you or a family member gets COVID-19, as recommended by the CDC.

1. Hand soap

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to the CDC, and should be done frequently. That means lathering up every time before eating or preparing food, after using the restroom, after leaving a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, after handling your mask, and after caring for someone sick. So if you don’t have a good stock of hand soap, it might be good to get some more, just in case. The American Red Cross also recommends that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in order to effectively clean them.

2. Disinfecting wipes and spray

If someone in your household is sick, the CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting surfaces as much as possible, especially if the infected person touched something. This includes frequently touched surfaces like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Cleaning wipes and spray are still hard to find, but are still essential for sanitation. While Lysol products were specifically approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for protecting against coronavirus, make sure you have something to disinfect your home with.3. Hand sanitizer

While washing your hands is the most effective thing for preventing the spread of COVID-19, if you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is a good second choice. Just be sure it contains at least 60% alcohol content, so you can properly sanitize your hards, according to the CDC. Earlier this year we saw a massive hand sanitizer shortage, so it might be a good idea to get a spare bottle now.

3. Hand sanitizer

While washing your hands is the most effective thing for preventing the spread of COVID-19, if you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is a good second choice. Just be sure it contains at least 60% alcohol content, so you can properly sanitize your hards, according to the CDC. Earlier this year we saw a massive hand sanitizer shortage, so it might be a good idea to get a spare bottle now.

4. Thermometers

A fever is one of the first symptoms of COVID-19, according to the CDC, so you’re going to need a thermometer to monitor your family member’s illness and to see if anyone else contracted the virus. At the start of the pandemic, thermometers were incredibly difficult to find online and in-stores. While there are plenty of thermometers in stock right now, it’s a good idea to get one now if you don’t already have one, just in case.

6. Tissues

Although the major symptoms of coronavirus include a dry cough, fever, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC, it’s always a good idea to have an extra box of tissues lying around to cover any sneezes or coughs. You can also use tissues as a barrier between you and surfaces that could have the coronavirus like doorknobs. After testing nine different boxes (and blowing many noses), we found that Puffs Ultra Soft tissues are the best tissues and won’t irritate your nose. Be sure to have an extra box lying around.

7. Face masks

While most people don’t wear face masks in the comfort of their own home, if someone in your household has COVID-19, they’re essential. Not only do face masks help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but they also protect the wearer from the virus, according to the CDC. You should wear one when in close contact with an infected family member.

After testing a variety of face masks for comfort and protection, our experts found that the Athleta Non Medical Face Masks to be the best. Each one is triple-layered and comes with an adjustable nose piece and ear loops, and we found them to be comfortable and breathable, too. For a more affordable option, the Old Navy Triple-Layer Cloth Face Mask is our best value pick and only cost $12.50 for a pack of five.

You also might consider using disposable masks if someone in your family has the coronavirus. That way they can toss them out after each use. This 50 pack of disposable face masks from Bigox on Amazon has a 4.5-star rating from over 11,000 reviews and is a great option.

8. Disposable gloves

The CDC recommends wearing disposable gloves when disinfecting surfaces, handling items that could have come in contact with the coronavirus like trash bags and tissues, and caring for someone who is sick. Gloves should be immediately discarded after use and you should wash your hands after removing them. The Venom Steel Rip Resistant Industrial Gloves that we rated to be the best on the market for comfort and durability when testing disposable gloves, but there are other great options to use as well.

9. Humidifiers and air purifiers

According to the CDC, humidifiers can help ease some of the symptoms of the coronavirus like cough and sore throat. So it might be helpful to have one if a family member is recovering from the virus. The Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier is the best humidifier we’ve ever tested. It can run for about 10 hours on the medium setting, and it was able to bring our testing chamber to 80 percent relative humidity. Plus, it comes with a medicine exhaust for some extra relief.

Air purifiers could help prevent other family members from contracting COVID-19, especially if your space isn’t well-ventilated, by filtering out airborne pathogens. Though it’s not guaranteed to prevent exposure to the virus, it can help reduce airborne transmissions when used with other sanitation best practices like hand washing and disinfecting. The Winix 5500-2 is the best air purifier we’ve ever tested, as its filers are easy to change and it has the capacity to filter out 99.97% of pathogens as small as 0.3 microns.

10. Pulse oximeters

To help monitor your family member who has COVID-19, you might want to consider getting a pulse oximeter. These medical devices attach to the finger to measure oxygen saturation in the blood, which experts believe can be a gauge for reduced lung capacity, a common symptom of the coronavirus. Oxygen saturation below 90 percent is considered hypoxic, according to the Mayo Clinic, meaning there is a lower level of oxygen than is needed in the blood and could be a sign to take your loved one for medical attention. Though it’s not necessary for everyone, it could help give you peace of mind.

By Courtney Campbell
Published at:
https://eu.usatoday.com


Spain issues warning as child hand sanitizer poisoning cases spike

The number of children treated in Spain for accidental poisonings after ingesting hand sanitising gels has soared during the pandemic, the government said Wednesday, urging parents to keep the products out of reach.

There have been 874 reported cases of intoxications from hand sanitising gels so far this year, compared to just 90 during all of 2019, the National Toxicological and Forensic Sciences Institute, a unit of the justice ministry, said in a statement.
Two-thirds of the cases involved children, especially those under the age of two. The vast majority swallowed the hand-sanitiser although some became intoxicated after getting the product in their eyes or inhaling it.
No fatalities have been reported and over 80 percent the poisoning victims recovered “in a short time”, the institute said.

The most common symptoms were, vomiting, diarrhoea, coughing, blurred vision and red eyes.
In a video message posted on Twitter, Justice Minister Juan Carlos Campo called the Zgures “alarming” and urged parents to “keep hand-sanitising gels out of reach of children and insist that its use to disinfect hands always be supervised by an adult”.

Como ministro de Justicia, pero también como padre, me preocupan los datos de intoxicaciones por gel hidroalcohólico en niños que ha difundido hoy el @INTCFjusticia. Mantengamos estos productos fuera del alcance de los más pequeños. Protejámonos, protejámosles.
pic.twitter.com/F5QGPKvX2T
— Juan Carlos Campo (@Jccampm) October 14, 2020

As in other European countries, used of hand-sanitising gels has soared in Spain to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The country has become of the pandemic’s hotspots in the European Union, with close to 910,000 registered cases and over 33,000 deaths.

Published at: The Local 15 October 2020
news@thelocal.es @thelocalspain

https://www.thelocal.es/20201015/child-hand-sanitiser-poisoning-cases-spike-in-spain


6 Common Viruses and How You Can Avoid Spreading Them Plus, find out how long you could be contagious with each one

With cold and flu season fast approaching, there’s no doubt that you’ll be extra thorough in your efforts to protect yourself from germs and viruses this year. Before COVID-19, did you ever think about how long you could be contagious after catching a cold or having bronchitis, strep throat or the flu? If not, the answers just might surprise you.

As you’re being extra cautious to avoid catching or spreading the coronavirus, keep these helpful guidelines from family medicine physician Matthew J. Goldman, MD in mind so you don’t pass the following common illnesses on to others.

Are you contagious or not?

Common Cold

When are you probably the most contagious? Within the first 48-72 hours.

How long could you be contagious with a cold? Up to 2 weeks.

How does a common cold spread? Hand contact or droplets in the air.

How do you avoid infecting others? Cough/sneeze into your elbow and not your hands.
Stay home until symptoms improve and your fever resolves.

Hand hygiene: Clean your hands often with soap and water/alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Flu

When are you probably the most contagious? Within the first 48 hours.

How long could you be contagious with the flu? Up to 10 days.

How does the flu spread? Coughing/sneezing (sends large amounts of flu virus into air).

How do you avoid infecting others? Stay on top of hand hygiene.
Cough or sneeze into your elbow and not your hands.
Stay home until symptoms improve and fever resolves.

Hand hygiene: Clean your hands often with soap and water/alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Sore Throat/Strep

When are you probably the most contagious? Within the first 48-72 hours.

How long could you be contagious with a sore throat or strep? Three to four weeks if left untreated. You could be contagious with strep 24 to 48 hours after you start antibiotics.

How does a sore throat or strep spread? Saliva or nasal mucus/discharge (especially strep).

How do you avoid infecting others?
Avoid close contact with others.
Don’t share utensils or drinks.

Extra hand hygiene: Wash your hands with plain soap and water for 20-30 seconds; scrub your nails, wrists and between your fingers. Rinse thoroughly.

Bronchitis

When are you probably the most contagious? Within the first 48-72 hours.

How long could you be contagious with bronchitis? Up to 3 weeks.

How does bronchitis spread? Through droplets in the air and contaminated surfaces.

How can you avoid infecting others?
Be sure to step up your hand hygiene.
Promptly discard used tissue and wash your hands.
Get tested for the flu.

Extra hand hygiene: Wash your hands with plain soap and water for 20 to 30 seconds; scrub your nails, wrists and between your fingers. Rinse your hands thoroughly.

Pneumonia

When are you probably the most contagious? Within the first 48-72 hours.

How long could you be contagious with pneumonia? Up to three weeks.

How does pneumonia spread? Coughing or sneezing (you can infect anyone within 6 feet).

How can you avoid infecting others?
Extra hand hygiene.
Wash your hands before making meals.
Promptly discard used tissue and wash your hands.
Environmental cleaning.

Environmental cleaning: Frequently disinfect surfaces where infected droplets can collect.

Stomach Virus

When are you probably the most contagious? Within the first 24-48 hours.

How long could you be contagious with a stomach virus? It varies. Wait 48-72 hours after your symptoms resolve to return to school or work.

How does a stomach virus spread? Sharing food or utensils, contaminated surfaces or close contact.

How can you avoid infecting others?
Extra hand hygiene.
Environmental cleaning.
Avoid close contact with others.

Environmental cleaning: Frequently disinfect surfaces where infected droplets can collect.

Publihed September 3, 2020
By Clevelandclinic
https://health.clevelandclinic.org

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COVID-19 Safety Protocols Will Also Protect You from Colds, Flu

Experts say the safety protocols used to reduce risk during the COVID-19 pandemic can help protect you from colds and flu this fall and winter.

They explain that colds, flu, and

COVID-19 are all spread by droplet transmission.
They say that’s why mask wearing and physical distancing work against these illnesses.

The same precautions taken to avoid COVID-19 will also help guard against colds and the flu.

As health authorities brace for a cold and flu season that will coincide with COVID-19, experts are encouraging the public to continue practicing good hand hygiene, physical distancing, and mask wearing to not only prevent COVID-19 but also colds and influenza.

“Cold and flu, COVID-19 — they’re all respiratory viruses. There are nuances between them, but basically they are all transmitted in the same way,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Healthline.

The transmission of respiratory illnesses is divided into two categories: droplet transmission and airborne transmission.

“The idea is that respiratory spread via droplet transmission is from larger, heavier droplets, heavier particle size, and they don’t travel very long,” Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of California Davis, told Healthline. “They don’t stay suspended in the air for very long because gravity takes over and they fall to the ground, and that’s why we have all those recommendations relating to social distancing 6 feet or farther away from people.”

“Respiratory spread from airborne transmission refers to viruses and other infections that are suspended in smaller particles in the air,” Blumberg said. “These are smaller and lighter particles so they can remain floating around in the air and carried around by air currents for minutes to even hours.”

When it comes to respiratory droplets, size matters.

“Normal respiratory droplets that carry things like the common cold, SARS-COV-2, or influenza are large and typically cause infection by direct contact or through a contaminated surface where it has landed,” Dr. Jaime Friedman, a pediatrician in San Diego, told Healthline.

The common cold and influenza are both believed to be transmitted through larger droplets.

And although there is still much to learn about COVID-19, it is believed to be spread in the same way.

“With COVID-19, probably at least two thirds of transmission is from the respiratory route via droplets,” Blumberg said.

Why masks are important
Experts say the droplet transmission is why mask wearing is so important.

“Within that zone, that breathing zone, of 3 to 6 feet, that’s where the virus is transmitted most efficiently and, of course, since people without symptoms can be shedding the virus, quite as abundantly as people with symptoms, that’s the whole rationale for wearing masks,” Blumberg said.

Masks act as a barrier that stop larger droplets being transmitted to others once exhaled, minimizing the risk of spread.

“They protect against the outgoing. They’re really excellent at that. They’re OK at protecting against the incoming, what it is that you inhale. But they really are very effective at protecting against the outgoing,” he said. “Think about surgeons. The reason they wear facial masks are so that the germs in their mouths and nose don’t drop into the surgical wound. So if everyone wears masks they are protecting themselves, but even more so they’re protecting everyone else around them and if we all did that then the ability of this virus to be transmitted, would not drop to zero, but it would be very substantially curtailed.”

Experts are hopeful mask wearing and other COVID-19 prevention measures will also help reduce the number of influenza cases this winter.

“The same considerations apply between influenza and COVID-19. Wearing a mask and social distancing are the two most important things… to prevent influenza and if people follow that for COVID-19 we may get a break and see less influenza this year,” Blumberg said.

How to wear a mask
Experts say an effective mask is one that has two or more layers, such as surgical masks that are multi-layered.

The way a mask is worn also matters.

“The best mask… is the one that is worn correctly over the nose and mouth and for the entire duration that person is in a public space,” Friedman said.

Masks should also fit snugly around the cheeks and down under the chin.

Schaffner says mask wearing should become more commonplace in the United States to guard not only against COVID-19, but many other infections.

“I think it’s past time that we begin to adopt those practices here in the U.S. and in the Western world generally,” he said. “Of course, it helps to keep socially distant. Lots of good hand hygiene also helps. In addition, there’s one other thing that we can do against flu which is of course to get vaccinated.”

Using safety protocols together
The Southern Hemisphere is just emerging from their flu season, and Blumberg said the patterns seen there are indicative of the widespread benefits of COVID-19 measures such as mask wearing.

“In Taiwan, there was a 75 percent decrease in influenza… related to the masking and social distancing guidelines. You can see decreases in many different infections by following these guidelines for masking and social distancing,” he said.

As well as getting the flu shot, experts are urging the public to maintain infection prevention measures as cold and flu season begins.

“Continue social distancing when in public, continue to wear a mask, continue to wash your hands and sanitize frequently touched surfaces, continue to avoid large indoor gatherings,” Friedman said.

Schaffner says if people embrace mask wearing, the benefits to public health and the healthcare system would be significant.

“We would diminish very substantially if we did this consistently,” he said. “That would spare a lot of us from annoying illnesses, the relatively small minority would be spared very serious disease and of course the burden on the healthcare system would be substantially less and we’d save literally millions of dollars.”

But Schaffner says that as well as mask wearing, hand hygiene and physical distancing all have a role to play in avoiding cold, flu, and COVID-19.

“Each of these interventions that we use has utility, they all contribute to it,” he said. “None of them is perfect, but if we use several of them simultaneously then the barrier gets stronger and each compensates for the holes in the others.”

 

 

Written by Elizabeth Pratt on October 5, 2020 — Fact checked by Maria Gifford

Publihed at; https://www.healthline.com/

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How long can Covid-19 virus survive on human skin? Proper hand hygiene is the key, say researchers

Coronavirus update: The 9-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV, thus accelerating the pandemic.

Coronavirus update: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that has caused the Covid-19 pandemic, can survive as many as nine hours on human skin, according to researchers in Japan. The study which has been published in ‘Clinical Infectious Diseases’ journal has underlined that “Proper hand hygiene is important to prevent the spread” of Coronavirus, as per a Reuters report.

“The stability of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on human skin remains unknown, considering the hazards of viral exposure to humans. We generated a model that allows the safe reproduction of clinical studies on the application of pathogens to human skin and elucidated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on the human skin,” the study titled as “Survival of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus on the human skin: Importance of hand hygiene in COVID-19” stated.

Researchers evaluated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A virus (IAV), mixed with culture medium or upper respiratory mucus, on human skin surfaces, and the dermal disinfection effectiveness of 80 per cent (w/w) ethanol against SARS-CoV-2 and IAV. To avoid possibly infecting healthy volunteers, researchers conducted lab experiments using cadaver skin that would otherwise have been used for skin grafts. While the influenza A virus survived less than two hours on human skin, the novel coronavirus survived for more than nine hours. Both were completely inactivated within 15 seconds by hand sanitizer containing 80 per cent alcohol.

The 9-hour survival of SARS-CoV-2 on human skin may increase the risk of contact transmission in comparison with IAV, thus accelerating the pandemic. Proper hand hygiene is important to prevent the spread of Coronavirus infections, the study says in its ‘Conclusion’ part.

Meanwhile, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends using alcohol-based hand rubs with 60 per cent to 95 per cent alcohol or thoroughly washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, as per the Reuters report.

By: Debjit Sinha | New Delhi
Updated: Oct 06, 2020 12:25 PM
Published at: https://www.financialexpress.com

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Handwashing: Is a New Normal Possible?

Professional development educators and infection control specialists need to design educational programs that create a lasting behavior change when it comes to hand hygiene.

Can something as simple as handwashing prevent the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Today, handwashing is as important as ever. Prevention becomes essential to stopping the spread of the virus because there is no vaccine to prevent it and no treatment for anyone experiencing the illness.

Mitigation is the only tool we have at our disposal to fight this novel virus. Science has consistently proven that handwashing is the only way to prevent viral and bacterial diseases. Healthcare providers know that hand hygiene protocols reduce the rates of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), yet providers continue to miss opportunities to perform hand hygiene. COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on hand-hygiene practices if we reevaluate what outcome we want to achieve with the provision of education on hand hygiene.

Coronavirus is spread by droplets. So anytime we talk or sneeze or cough, there are droplets that come from our mouth and nose. The virus is on our face, hands from covering our sneeze by habit, or even with the use of tissues. The virus can land on surfaces. If a contaminated surface is touched then one is at risk for contracting the virus via hand contact with their face, nose, eyes, and mouth. During the COVID-19 pandemic, handwashing becomes even more important. How can healthcare providers serve as credible educators for the general population, on the critical issue of hand hygiene, when healthcare providers are not consistently practicing hand hygiene? How can we prevent the transmission of disease when we neglect to provide patients with an opportunity to properly wash their hands?

Healthcare workers now have an increased need to wash hands. Hand hygiene should be completed prior to donning and after doffing personal protective equipment. Healthcare providers are also wearing masks for the duration of their shift in healthcare facilities. Hand hygiene should be performed after adjusting their mask as well.

Healthcare workers have many reasons for not performing hand hygiene. Edmonds, et al includes some of the following reasons for not washing hands: inconvenience, I forgot, I was wearing gloves, lack of education, hands full, skin breakdown, frequent entry into room, and hand hygiene products have a strange odor or leave a film on hands.1 The reasons for lack of hand hygiene are only important if we use the noncompliance reasons to improve systems such as: promoting hand hygiene, trialing new products, or changing behaviors of healthcare providers.

What can professional development educators and infection control specialists do to encourage hand hygiene? We need to consider what outcome we would like to achieve with hand hygiene compliance.

Have professional development educators and infection control specialists consider the objective of hand hygiene education. Is the objective of hand hygiene education to increase the compliance rates of hand hygiene or is the objective of hand hygiene to prevent the transmission of disease?

If the objective of hand hygiene is to prevent the transmission of disease, then our educational content needs to be redesigned. We need to transform our education programs and campaigns. Education needs to include content related to how easily germs are spread and transmitted in the hospital environment, how healthcare employees contaminate the environment, how the environment is contaminated with social media devices, how staff contaminate themselves, how patients can contaminate their environment.

We need to create educational programs for patients, families, and visitors, as well as staff. Education can no longer be “wash in and wash out.” Professional development educators and infection control specialists need to design educational programs that create a lasting behavior change in all constituents.

The only education that should remain consistent is the procedure for washing hands. The procedure2 for handwashing, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), should be adopted in all healthcare facilities. The procedure is:

Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the water, and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Twenty seconds can be measured by Singing the song “Happy Birthday” or the “ABCs” song from beginning to end twice.

Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Now is the time to change our educational methods. We need to change our content. We need to get the message out that the goal of hand hygiene is to prevent the transmission of disease. We need to ask staff if they have stopped the spread of your germs today? We cannot just put the handwashing flyer reminder somewhere out there in healthcare facilities. We need to change the signage and location of the information frequently, so the message remains on the minds of the providers. The message needs to be innovative. We need to create educational interventions that promote a change in personal behavior.

A major educational deficit that remains in the healthcare system is patient hand hygiene. How often do we encourage patients to perform hand hygiene while in the healthcare facility? Do we have signage to encourage patient handwashing? Is hand sanitizer available to our nonmobile patients? Do we offer an opportunity for patients to wash their hands before and after meals? After using a bedpan or commode, has the patient been provided with access to soap and water? Is the opportunity available in your healthcare facility for a patient to perform hand hygiene after coughing or sneezing? Are patients offered a chance to wash their hands after a procedure outside their room? Is hand sanitizer or soap and water available to the patient after a physical, occupational, or speech therapy session? Have we taught patients to complete hand hygiene after touching a wound or dressing?

Now is the time to provide education to patients encouraging the patients to ask for an opportunity to wash their hands while a patient in the healthcare facility. We need to educate patients to speak up for access to hand hygiene to prevent the transmission of disease. Access to soap and water or hand sanitizer is a necessity for patients in the healthcare facility. Professional development and infection control specialists can make a difference in the health of our patients. Emphasizing patient hand hygiene can only serve to decrease the infection rates in patients and stop the transmission of disease.

Our methodology for collecting hand hygiene compliance data needs to change. We need to ask ourselves tough questions. Do we truly empower our hand hygiene observers to conduct in-the-moment education with staff? Can all employees stop the line? Do we truly create a culture of do no harm? With the increased necessity for hand hygiene, is now the time to invest in technology to measure hand hygiene compliance? Do we need to begin to measure hand hygiene compliance in the patient population?

In this time of the global pandemic, patients are afraid to return to healthcare settings for routine care, elective procedures, and even emergent life-threatening procedures. Can we convince the public to return to the healthcare system for elective or life sustaining treatment with improved hand hygiene? COVID-19 has changed the world in which we live. Can we respond with increased rigor to prevent the spread of disease? Would you feel safer as a patient or a healthcare worker if we stopped transmitting disease?

By Mary Jean Ricci, MSN, RNBC
Published July 21, 2020
https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com

Mary Jean Ricci, MSN, RN-BC, is the director of clinical education at Drexel University College of Medicine. She’s also a nursing supervisor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

References:

Edmonds, M. Landon, E. Larson, E.& Price, C. Infection prevention in hospitals: the importance of hand hygiene. Infectious Disease News. April 2014.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidelines for hand hygiene in healthcare settings. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.html


Study: Regular Handwashing Reduces Personal Risk of Acquiring Seasonal Coronavirus Infection

In a new study looking at 1,633 participants of the England-wide Flu Watch project, a team of researchers found that moderate-frequency handwashing (6-10 times per day) was associated with a reduced overall risk of seasonal coronavirus infection.

The expanding global outbreak of COVID-19 demands an evidence-based public health response.

Seasonal human coronavirus strains (NL63, OC43, 229E, and HKU1) as well as SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease, appear to be transmitted via droplets, direct and indirect contact with infected secretions and, to an unknown extent by aerosol.

Hand hygiene measures are recommended by health authorities and public health experts worldwide to interrupt these transmission mechanisms by preventing viral transfer via contact with infected people and surfaces.

While hand hygiene recommendations are acceptable in a variety of community settings worldwide and are widely recommended by health authorities, evaluation of their effects on the risk of illness in the general population is limited.

“It’s important to highlight that frequency of handwashing is only one aspect of hand hygiene,” said first author Sarah Beale, a researcher in the Public Health Data Science Research Group of the Institute of Health Informatics at University College London (UCL) and the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care.

“We also know that both longer duration of handwashing and the context of handwashing e.g. upon returning home or before eating — have been associated with lower overall risk of influenza or influenza-like-illness.”

“Good hand hygiene should be practiced at all times regardless of whether you show symptoms or not. This will help protect yourself and prevent unwittingly spreading the virus to others around you.”

For the study, Beale and colleagues used data from three successive winter cohorts (2006 to 2009) of the Flu Watch study, a national household-level prospective cohort study investigating transmission, burden and risk factors associated with influenza and other acute respiratory infections across England.

The majority of participants (almost 80%) were adults over sixteen years of age. They provided baseline estimates of hand hygiene behavior. Coronavirus infections were identified from nasal swabs using RT-PCR.

To assess overall handwashing frequency, participants were asked at baseline of each season to ‘Estimate how many times you washed your hands yesterday.’

Frequency of daily handwashing was subsequently categorized as low (≤5 times daily), moderate (6–10 times daily), or high (>10 times daily) guided by literature around influenza-like illness in Western community settings.

The outcome of interest was whether participants contracted any PCR-confirmed coronavirus infection in a season.

Detected coronavirus strains (NL63, OC43, and 229E) were combined into a binary outcome (yes/no coronavirus) as the effect of hand hygiene is believed to be consistent across these strains.

Moderate-frequency handwashing was associated with significantly reduced overall risk of contracting coronavirus (36% reduction in the risk of infection compared to those who washed their hands 0-5 times per day).

For higher intensity handwashing there was no significant dose-response effect.

“Something as simple as washing our hands regularly can help us to keep the infection rate low and reduce transmissions,” said senior author Ellen Fragaszy, a researcher in the Public Health Data Science Research Group at the UCL Institute of Health Informatics and the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

“Given that COVID-19 appears to demonstrate similar transmission mechanisms to seasonal coronaviruses, these findings support clear public health messaging around the protective effects of handwashing during the pandemic,” Beale added.

The findings appear in the journal Wellcome Open Research.

Published May 25, 2020 by News Staff
http://www.sci-news.com

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