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

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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


Men wash their hands much less often than women and that matters more than ever

(CNN)Handwashing with soap and warm water for 20 seconds — along with staying home and standing six feet apart from others — is the best weapon we have against the novel coronavirus that has infected almost 800,000 people around the world.
However, there’s one big yet little discussed difference when it comes to this essential personal hygiene habit: Women are hands down better handwashers than men.

Years of surveys, observations and research have found that women are more likely to wash their hands, use soap and scrub for a longer period of time than men after using the restroom. However, there’s still a surprisingly large portion of both sexes who don’t wash their hands at all.

People lie about washing their hands
Researchers have had to come up with clever ways to collect this data, since most people will tell you that they think handwashing after using the bathroom is important. That’s even if they don’t actually do it.

Carl Borchgrevink, director of the School of Hospitality at Michigan State University in East Lansing, takes this kind of survey data with a pinch of salt.

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“If you’re at a restroom at an airport, for example, and when you come out someone [asks] you ‘Did you wash your hands?’ And what are you going to say? Yes, of course,” said Borchgrevink.
When researchers only ask about people’s handwashing habits, “we found that the data that people were reporting seemed to be too high,” he said.

To dig deeper into what people really do after using the bathroom, Borchgrevink tasked 12 research assistants at Michigan State University with the job of surreptitiously hanging out in four different restrooms on and off campus to record what 3,749 men and women actually did. The results of the 2013 study were shocking to the researchers.

Few people wash their hands correctly
Some 15% of men didn’t wash their hands at all, compared with 7% of women. When they did wash their hands, only 50% of men used soap, compared with 78% of women.
Overall, only 5% of people who used the bathroom washed their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections.
A bigger study published in 2009 that used more high tech methods at a busy highway rest stop in the UK was equally, if not more, damning.
With the use of wireless devices to record how many people entered the restroom and used the pumps of the soap dispensers, researchers were able to collect data on almost 200,000 restroom trips over a three-month period.
The found that only 31% of men and 65% of women washed their hands with soap.

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It’s a big gap — clearly twice as many women as men were washing their hands,” said Susan Michie, health psychology professor and director of the Centre for Behaviour Change at the Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology at University College London.
“Another interesting result was that the more people were in the toilet area the more they were likely to wash their hands,” said Michie, who was an author of the study. “If there were no people around, people tended to zap out with no one noticing.”
There’s little to suggest that men in the UK and US are unsual in their handwashing (or lack thereof).
A review published on the subject in 2016 looked at research from dozens of different countries, and found that women were 50% more likely than men to practice, or increase, protective behavior like proper hand-washing, mask-wearing and surface cleaning in the context of an epidemic, like flu.

Why is there a gender gap?
There’s been far less research done on why there is such a gap between the sexes when it comes to hand-washing. Michie said it was likely socially programmed behavior, not genetic.
“Women are more focused on care than men — childcare, household care, personal care,” she said.

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Similarly, Borchgrevink said that while his study didn’t look at why men didn’t wash their hands as much as women, he suggested that it could be down to a sense that men were too macho to fear germs.
“We did talk to some of (the men) and ask, ‘why didn’t wash your hands?'” Borchgrevink said. “And they would look at us indignantly and say, ‘I’m clean, I don’t need to wash my hands.’ They had a sense of invincibility.”
Nancy Tomes, a history professor at Stony Brook University and the author of “The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women and the Microbe in American Life,” says the hand-washing gender gap has a long history dating back to when the germ theory of disease took hold in the public consciousness in the Victorian era — that certain diseases were caused by microorganisms that invaded the body rather than bad air or miasma.

An unidentified Red Cross nurse teaches a class on home hygiene and care for the sick to a group of women of various ages, 1920.
“This changed the definition of cleanliness,” she said, and women especially were told their family’s health depended on the highest level of hygiene.
“Of course, there had been definitions of what was clean and unclean before the germ theory came along, but it injected a level of specificity and also upped the ante. If you made a mistake in your cleanliness, you could die, your family could die.
“And that message of, ‘make a mistake and your kid will die’ resonates like a megaphone in the lives of mothers (even today),” Tomes said.

Motivating men to wash their hands
Michie’s research at the highway rest stop in the UK looked at what kind of public health messaging would improve handwashing rates by using a sign that illuminated with different messages as people entered the restroom.
While the findings weren’t conclusive, the study suggested that men and women responded to different types of messaging around handwashing. Messages that triggered disgust (“Soap it off or eat it later”) resonated with men, while women were more motivated to wash by messages that activated knowledge, such as “Water doesn’t kill germs, soap does.”
Michie said she wasn’t aware of any public health campaigns that had focused their efforts on men in light of their handwashing lapses, but said this was the perfect moment to try.
“It’s an excellent idea to target men. It could be really helpful. If women knew men weren’t doing it, they’d get on to them.”

Published by Katie Hunt, CNN
Updated 1 April 2020
https://edition.cnn.com

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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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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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Essential hand hygiene a must when handling food products

Currently, there is no evidence that Covid-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.

However, it is always important to follow good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods. You should always wash your hands and surfaces often, separate raw meat from other foods, cook to the right temperature, and put food in the fridge as soon as you can.

Food shopping advice

• Don’t go shopping if you have COVID-19 symptoms. You can order your groceries online, or have family or friends drop them off instead.

• When you go food shopping, you should wash your hands before you leave the house, avoid touching your face when you are out, and follow social distancing.

• When you return home, you should wash your hands straight away. Wash them again once you have unpacked and put away your shopping.

• It is not necessary to sanitise the outside of food packaging. While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way.

• If you are sanitising surfaces or shopping bags, follow the manufacturer’s instructions about how much time is needed before wiping the sanitiser off.

• Gloves can give a false sense of security. They would need to be changed very frequently to be effective. It is better to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

Frequently asked questions

When I bring my grocery shopping into my home, could it be contaminated with the Coronavirus? What do I have to do to make sure it is safe?

While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way. However, you should always put away your shopping as soon as you get home, especially perishable foods which must be stored in the fridge or freezer.

If I deliver food to a relative in isolation, what do I have to do it make sure it is safe?

Firstly, if you show any symptoms, you should not offer to deliver food. If you can, follow the food shopping advice above, and it might be best to leave the shopping at the door.

I have heard that sanitisers can only be used three or four times and then hands must be washed properly in hot soapy water. Is that true?

Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water is best, but hand sanitisers are a good option when you don’t have access to soap and water, such as when you are out and about.

Can I wash my hands with cold water and soap? Is that adequate?

The temperature of the water is not that significant. The most important thing is that you wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and dry your hands thoroughly afterwards.

I am cocooning and I am worried about the safety of the food being left at my doorstep.

Always put away food as soon as you can, especially perishable foods which must be stored in the fridge or freezer. While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way. However you should wash your hands once you have unpacked and put away your shopping.

Should I wipe down/clean all food packaging coming into my house?

It is not necessary to sanitise the outside of food packaging. While there is some evidence that the virus can survive on hard surfaces, the risk from handling food packing is very low and there is no evidence that the illness can be transmitted in this way.

You should follow the food shopping advice above and wash your hands before and after you go food shopping, and after you unpack your shopping.

Should I wear gloves when handling food packaging when unpacking it from a shop?

Gloves would need to be changed very frequently to be effective. It is better to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

When out food shopping, should I wear gloves and wipe down the basket/trolley I am using?

Gloves can give a false sense of security. They would need to be changed very frequently to be effective. It is better to wash your hands, or use hand sanitiser, and avoid touching your face.

Many shops are providing sanitiser to wipe trolley handles, as this is a high contact surface.

Published by Galway Puublisher
Thursdag 09-04-2020
https://www.advertiser.ie/galway

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New hand washing stations to help fight hygiene-related diseases

The Ministry of Health in partnership with World Vision among other stakeholders have inaugurated 49 modern hand washing facilities set up at different health facilities across the country, which are expected to help prevent Covid-19 and hygiene-related diseases.

The event took place at Masaka Hospital in Kicukiro district on Tuesday, September 1.

According to the ministry, the entire project will involve the establishment of modern hand washing stations in about 300 health facilities across the country.

Speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Health Dr. Daniel Ngamije said that the facilities will help prevent the Covid-19 pandemic and other hygiene-related diseases.

“We thank this partnership with World Vision and other partners who worked hard to avail these facilities. This move comes as an addition effort to the already existing measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and other hygiene-related diseases,” he said.

Among primary preventive measures against Covid-19 include regular washing of hands with clean water and soap.

Ngamije also urged people in charge of health facilities where the washing stations have been set up to take care of the established infrastructure and ensure they are always functional.

Sean Kerrigan, National Director of World Vision Rwanda also noted that the Organization is delighted to help the country in the fight against Covid-19.

He said: “We are glad to play a role in the fight against hygiene-related diseases, most especially Covid-19. We know that it is a joint responsibility for us and the government to keep both young children and adults safe. Together we shall win.”

The entire project of setting up these infrastructures, according to World Vision, has cost Rwf290 million.

By Lavie Mutanganshuro
Published 01 September 2020
https://www.newtimes.co.rw/


Frequent Hand-Washing Tough on Those With Eczema

Hand-washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses, but for people with skin conditions like eczema, lathering up frequently can lead to dryness, cracking, itchiness, pain and even an infection.

If you’re struggling to balance pandemic hand-washing and skin conditions, Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, a dermatologist at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., offers some advice.

Regular washing is better than hand sanitizer: When you cleanse with soap and water, then immediately apply moisturizer, you can “offset much of the drying effects of hand-washing,” Silverberg said in a news release from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. He recommends carrying a pocket tube of moisturizer so you can apply it on the go.

Avoid antiseptic and antibacterial soaps: You may not need them, as long as you scrub thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds and then rinse.

Moisturize properly: After washing, pat your hands until they are mostly dry, using a paper towel or tissue. “Once mostly dry, [i.e., your skin is still a little damp] apply a generous amount of moisturizer to coat the entire surface of your hands and fingers,” Silverberg said.

Beware of gloves plus sanitizer: To avoid irritation from hand-washing, some people with skin conditions wear disposable gloves and then use sanitizer on them — an approach Silverberg does not recommend. “When we apply hand sanitizer on our bare skin, we can feel if we covered the entire surface of the hands and fingers,” he said. “But when wearing gloves, we limit the ability to feel this and might miss some spots on the gloves and then accidentally carry some germs.” It makes more sense to change gloves and/or wash or sanitize hands often, Silverberg said.

Wear gloves when cleaning: Cleaning products are especially harsh on the skin. “People should always wear gloves when using antiseptic wipes and cleaning products,” Silverberg said.

Sterilize containers: If you carry bottles of soap and moisturizer with you, clean and sterilize the containers to remove harmful germs. And remember: Moisturizer should not be applied unless hands are clean, to prevent contaminating the product.
There’s more about hand hygiene at the National Eczema Association.

By Serena McNiff, HealthDay Reporter
Aug. 21, 2020
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