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


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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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/


How better home hygiene could curb antibiotic resistance

Pharmacologists and infectious disease specialists say there is an urgent need to promote good hygiene in the home and in community settings. They believe that this will be essential in reducing antibiotic use and preventing the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in the coming years.

Rates of resistance to commonly used antibiotics have already reached 40–60% in some countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and are set to continue rising fast.

In OECD countries, rates of resistance could reach nearly 1 in 5 (or 18%) by 2030 for eight different bacterium-antibiotic combinations.

By 2050, about 10 million people could die each year as a result of resistance to antimicrobial agents.

While policymakers usually focus on hygiene in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, a group of pharmacology and infectious disease experts believes that improved hygiene in homes and community settings is just as important.

The scientists have published a position paper in the American Journal of Infection Control on behalf of the Global Hygiene Council.

“Although global and national [antimicrobial resistance] action plans are in place,” they write, “infection prevention and control is primarily discussed in the context of healthcare facilities with home and everyday life settings barely addressed.”

They have also launched a manifesto that calls on health policymakers to recognize the importance of this topic.

‘More urgent than ever’

Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing, can help reduce infections and antibiotic use, the authors argue. In turn, this will minimize the development of resistance.

“In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic and evidence presented in this paper, it is more urgent than ever for policymakers to recognize the role of community hygiene to minimize the spread of infections, which, in turn, will help in reducing the consumption of antibiotics and help the fight against [antimicrobial resistance],” says lead author Prof. Jean-Yves Maillard from the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that 35% of common infections are already resistant to currently available medicines, with this figure rising to 80–90% in some low and middle income countries.

Overuse of the drugs accelerates the development of resistance. In the United States, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that of the 80–90% of antibiotic use that occurs outside hospitals, about half is inappropriate or unnecessary.

The authors point out that while the majority of bacteria that are multidrug-resistant (resistant to at least one agent in three or more antimicrobial classes) get picked up in hospitals, some have become prevalent in the community.

Patients leaving the hospital can carry methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on their skin, for example, or resistant strains of enterobacteria in their gut. Resistant bacteria can then pass to other family members.

The authors write:

“Although the precise impact of hygiene on transmission of infection between community and healthcare settings needs further investigation, it is important to recognize that reducing the need for antibiotic prescribing and the circulation of [antimicrobial-resistant] strains in healthcare settings cannot be achieved without also reducing circulation of infections and [resistant] strains in the community. We cannot allow hygiene in home and everyday life settings to become the weak link in the chain.”

Hand washing is a crucial measure

They argue that better hand hygiene would prevent many infections in the home and in community settings, such as schools, nurseries, and workplaces.

Only about 19% of people wash their hands after using the toilet, according to a review of research that the paper cites. The same review found that hand washing reduces the risk of diarrhea by nearly one-quarter (23%) in studies with good methodological design.

Educating people to wash their hands with ordinary soap is one of the best ways to reduce infections, according to experts. Overall, research has shown that improvements in hand hygiene lead to a 21% reduction in respiratory illnesses and a 31% reduction in gastrointestinal illnesses.

In addition, the position paper highlights the problem of foodborne pathogens, including Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Escherichia coli. These affect millions of people globally every year, causing diarrhea and other debilitating symptoms.

A 2014 study in Mexico found Salmonella in almost all cleaning cloths. Soaking these dish clothes in a 2% solution of bleach twice a day reduced the bacteria by 98%.

Key risks and strategies

The authors identify key risk moments for transmitting infections in the home. These are:

food handling, including contaminated chopping boards and kitchen sponges
using the toilet
changing a baby’s diaper
coughing, sneezing, and nose blowing
touching surfaces that others frequently touch
handling and laundering clothing and household linen
caring for domestic animals
disposing of refuse
caring for an infected family member

As key strategies to combat infection in the home, they recommend:

soap or detergent-based cleaning together with adequate rinsing
alcohol-based hand sanitizer
inactivation or eradication using a disinfectant on hard surfaces
mechanical removal using dry wiping
heating to at least 60°C (140°F)
UV treatment
a combination of the above

However, they note that further research is necessary to evaluate the extent to which these practices might contribute to preventing the transmission of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria.

By James Kingsland on May 25, 2020
Published at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com


Experts explain why strict hand hygiene couldn’t be sustained

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT |

With the zeal of hand washing going down months into coronavirus disease transmission in the country, experts have stated that it was inevitable as people were only acting in shock following announcements of a strange killer disease.

Hand hygiene alone is touted as having the ability to keep away many pathogens including the previous coronaviruses that have affected other countries and the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the the virus was confirmed in the country, many people including politicians and religious leaders came out to demonstrate how proper handwashing is done.

Around that time, the Ministry of Health said that the percentage of those that wash hands that has always staggered around 30 percent had increased to slightly above 50 percent. Now, experts worry that we have gone steps back even as the virus continues to transmit with the country having over 700 infections currently.

Dr Richard Mugambe, a lecturer in Makerere University’s Department of Disease Control and Environmental Health says that sustaining hand hygiene would have been possible if implementer’s of the initiative adopted a behavioral model to strategize on how this behavior that’s not deeply entrenched in the community continues.

Dr Fredrick Oporia, an epidemiologist and currently a disease control research fellow at Makerere University School of Public Health says that observing how people are washing hands, only a few use the recommended quantities and spend the recommended time of 20 seconds washing their hands.

In public places like markets, business centres and other facilities, notes that at the height of the scare, people had put in place facilities which have only remained as a shield to protect them from enforcement officers.

However, David Katwere Ssemwanga, the Technical Assistant of Uganda Sanitation Fund in the Ministry of Health said that the Ministry has made it mandatory for all households and business premises to have wash facilities although they are still challenged with enforcement something they hoped could be made stronger by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recognizing that people even in crowded city places have gone back to their past, he said they plan to come up with more stringent measures but only after ensuring that there’s considerable access to safe water for all. He says their interventions have started with health facilities where they are now availing them foot-operated handwashing facilities with funding from UNICEF.

Even in these facilities, he acknowledged that not all have water in place but the plan is to avail them water such that individual facilities can provide themselves soap. But as initial focus on sustainable handwashing facilities goes to health facilities, key crowded places like markets and business areas pose a big risk of infection.

For instance, in Kikuubo, Kampala’s major business hub, one of the administrators Sam Bafirawala Muyomba tells URN that to be able to do some bit of handwashing at the all-time crowded centre, they buy about 60 jerry cans of water at a fee of 500 Shillings each.

He admits they are conducting their handwashing on the principle of something is better than nothing, not as WHO recommends.

By The Independent
Published June 17, 2020
https://www.independent.co.ug


Hand Hygiene As the Coronavirus Pandemic Continues

A dermatologist’s advice – including how to care for over-sanitized hands.

Now more than ever, we’re constantly washing our hands with soap and water or using harsh hand sanitizers. It’s important to know which products are effective at removing viruses and bacteria from your hands and how to care for your skin to minimize irritation.

What products are effective at killing viruses and bacteria?

While many of us like to use fragrant hand soaps and sanitizers, they aren’t ideal for skin health. Even though they’re effective at killing viruses and bacteria on the hands, the fragrance that creates wonderful aromas is irritating to the skin. Fragrance pulls moisture from our skin, making it more dry, sensitive and irritated than it already is. It’s best to opt for fragrance-free products.

When you’re looking at soap ingredients, know that a specific ingredient isn’t needed to be effective. The Food and Drug Administration says there’s no proof that consumer-labeled “anti-bacterial” soap is better at preventing illness or infection than ordinary soap and water. Viruses, in particular COVID-19, are coated with a lipid envelope, and soap dissolves this protective barrier. That makes the virus unstable and less likely to survive – regardless of whether the product is labeled anti-bacterial or not.

The physical act of lathering soap, washing and then rinsing reduces most of the viruses and bacteria on the hands. It doesn’t make a difference if hot or cold running water are used to wash hands. Still, it’s best to use lukewarm water, as water that’s too hot will cause the skin to become drier.

If you’re shopping for hand sanitizer, those with 60% or greater ethyl alcohol disrupt the RNA molecules in the virus, which prevents it from replicating (making copies of itself). Try to stick to fragrance-free options. Although soap and water are more effective at cleaning hands due to the scrubbing action, sanitizer is a good alternative if soap isn’t available. However, if your hands are soiled, sanitizer shouldn’t be used.

How to care for your skin

Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. You cannot overuse moisturizer. When you’re deciding what product to use, look for lotions that are fragrance-free and contain ceramide. That’s an ingredient found in our skin that helps trap water in the skin and maintain the barrier.

Alternatively, if you don’t have or can’t find a ceramide-containing moisturizer, plain petroleum jelly is fine. Oils are less effective at moisturizing the skin, since they sit on the surface and don’t help restore the normal barrier function like ceramide does. If you’re using an over-the-counter moisturizer and it’s not enough to combat dry, irritated skin, see a board-certified dermatologist for other options.

By Shilpi Khetarpal, M.D., Contributor
Shilpi Khetarpal, MD, is a dermatologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Published June 17, 2020
https://health.usnews.com


Water & Sanitation This WHO-UNICEF Initiative Is Fighting so Everyone Can Wash Their Hands Against COVID-19

Nearly half of the world population can’t wash their hands at home.

Why Global Citizens Should Care

COVID-19 has been called an equaliser, because it doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender, geography, sexuality or religion. Yet, in the months since the World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic, it’s become increasingly evident that people from marginalised communities and poor countries bear the brunt of the virus due to lack of access to resources, like water and sanitation. You can join us here to take actions to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s most vulnerable communities.

It’s often been said that changing personal behaviour is vital in containing COVID-19: wearing a mask in public, maintaining social distance, and frequently washing hands with soap and clean water.

Yet for 3 billion people globally, access to hygiene is not as simple as turning on a tap, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

That’s 40% of the world population who cannot wash their hands with soap and water in their homes.

The majority are in sub-Saharan Africa, while children and people who live in informal settlements, refugee camps, or conflict areas are most affected by the continent’s lack of clean water and sanitation facilities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF have recently launched a hand-washing initiative aimed at bringing attention to the plight of people who don’t have access to clean water and are, therefore, unable to protect themselves effectively from COVID-19.

“Hand hygiene has never been more critical, not only to combat COVID-19, but to prevent a range of other infections. Yet, nearly six months since the onset of the pandemic, the most vulnerable communities around the world continue to lack access to basic hand hygiene,” said the executive directors of UNICEF and WHO, Henrietta Fore and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a joint statement.

The statement added: “According to our [UNICEF and WHO] latest data, the majority of people in the least developed countries are at immediate risk of COVID-19 infection due to a lack of hand hygiene facilities.”

The statement said one billion people are at direct risk of contracting COVID-19 as a result of not having water and soap in their homes, and that almost half of then are children.

However, it’s not only homes that lack access to clean water, the statement added. “All too often, schools, clinics, hospitals and other public spaces also lack hand hygiene facilities, putting children, teachers, patients and health workers at risk. Globally, two in five in health care facilities do not have hand hygiene at points of care,” said the statement.

A report by World Vision revealed that nine out of 10 countries in the world with the worst access to water are African.

These include: Eritrea, where 81% of the population do not have clean drinking water. In Uganda, 61% of the population doesn’t have basic water services. The figures are 61% in Ethiopia, 60% in Somalia, 59% in Angola, 58% in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 58% in Chad, 54% in Niger, and 53% in Mozambique.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an uncomfortable truth: too many people around the world simply cannot clean their hands,” said the statement.

UNICEF and WHO said they will be working through the initiative with other international partners, national governments, the public and private sectors, and community organisations to ensure that products and services are available and affordable, and to enable a culture of hygiene. This includes ensuring that handwashing stations are accessible, especially in disadvantaged areas and among marginalised communities.

“We must also ramp up investment in hygiene, water and sanitation, and in infection prevention and control,” said the statement. “We urge countries to scale up, systemise, and institutionalise hand hygiene and commit to strengthening the enabling environment, supply vital products and services, and to actively promote hygiene practices as part of a package of actions that save lives.”

You can join us to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s most vulnerable and marginalised communities by taking action here.

By Lerato Mogoatlhe
Published July 2, 2020
https://www.globalcitizen.org


Controlling COVID-19: hand hygiene must be accessible to all

UNICEF and the World Health Organization have launched the ‘Hand Hygiene for All’ joint initiative to help control the spread of COVID-19.

In a bid to control the spread of the novel COVID-19 infection the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization have launched a new join initiative ‘Hand Hygiene for All’ to help make hand hygiene accessible to all, including the least developed countries that have a lack of hygiene facilities.

Hand Hygiene for All

Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of UNICEF, and Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, made a statement on the launch of the initiative. “As the world struggles to cope with a new disease, one of the most effective tools to prevent its spread is also one of the most basic. Hand hygiene has never been more critical, not only to combat COVID-19, but to prevent a range of other infections. Yet, nearly six months since the onset of the pandemic, the most vulnerable communities around the world continue to lack access to basic hand hygiene.

“According to our latest data, the majority of people in the least developed countries are at immediate risk of COVID-19 infection due to a lack of hand hygiene facilities. In the 60 highest-risk countries, two out of three people – 1 billion people in total – lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water at home. Around half are children.

“All too often, schools, clinics, hospitals and other public spaces also lack hand hygiene facilities, putting children, teachers, patients and health workers at risk. Globally, two in five healthcare facilities do not have hand hygiene at points of care. We cannot overstate the threat.

“Many of the those who lack access to basic handwashing live in overcrowded, desperately poor conditions. Even before the pandemic, children and families faced barriers to accessing health and hygiene services. Now the grave risk of COVID-19 threatens further suffering and spread of this deadly disease.

“If we are going to control COVID-19, we have to make hand hygiene accessible to all. That is why we are launching a new global initiative to move the world towards the same goal: supporting the most vulnerable communities with the means to protect their health and environment.

“We are joining our efforts with those of other international partners, national governments, public and private sectors, and civil society organisations to ensure affordable products and services are available, especially in disadvantaged areas, and to enable a culture of hygiene.

“Public health response plans and reopening plans should couple physical distancing and other control measures with hand hygiene and access to safe water and sanitation, and must reach the most vulnerable communities.

“Our teams are developing comprehensive country roadmaps and committing human and financial resources to support global and local implementation efforts. Task teams will facilitate learning and knowledge exchange, while multisector stakeholders will strengthen hygiene programming and monitor global progress. Leaders and community mobilisers will advise on strategies and advocate for their implementation. Only together can we achieve universal hand hygiene.

“We must also ramp up investment in hygiene, water and sanitation, and in infection prevention and control. We urge countries to scale up, systemise and institutionalise hand hygiene and commit to strengthening the enabling environment, supply vital products and services, and to actively promote hygiene practices as part of a package of actions that save lives.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an uncomfortable truth: too many people around the world simply cannot clean their hands. But we can help to reduce the spread, and we can prevent future infectious diseases from following a similar path. It starts by making sure everyone, everywhere has access to basic hand hygiene facilities with soap and clean water or alcohol-based products in homes, schools and healthcare facilities.”

 

Published


Why Americans are tiring of social distancing and hand-washing – 2 behavioral scientists explain

States are beginning to open up their economies after successfully slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Much of the credit for that goes to Americans dutifully following prescribed behavior.

People have been washing their hands frequently, maintaining physical distance from others, wearing face masks, sanitizing door knobs and even disinfecting food and packages brought into the house.

But in order to continue to contain the spread of the virus, we’ll still need to sustain these behaviors for weeks and maybe months to come. Will people be able to maintain their vigilance over time?

As scholars who study health-related behavior change, we’re skeptical. While continuing to wash your hands and stay six feet away from others doesn’t seem so hard for an individual, the problem is that people are unable to “see” the benefits of their actions – and thus often don’t recognize just how important they are.

As a result, adherence to these protective behaviors could wane over time without policies designed to sustain them.

Intangible benefits

It is, in fact, remarkable to us that efforts to promote hygiene measures have been as successful as they have been. That’s because they are almost the embodiment of the types of protective measures that people are especially bad at taking.

The most obvious reasons are that maintaining physical distances and constantly washing hands are inconvenient and require constant vigilance. The costs of these behaviors are immediate, but the benefits are delayed.

A more subtle and equally important reason, however, is that the benefits are intangible: You can’t touch, taste, feel or see the benefits of, for example, wiping off your door knob.

One reason the benefits are intangible is that people tend to be insensitive to even dramatic changes in probabilities – such as from one-in-a-thousand chance to one-in-a-million chance – when it comes to small probability events such as the chance of contracting coronavirus.

This is true unless the change in probability leads to certainty that the event will not occur, which is why people are not eager to engage in preventive behaviors unless they completely eliminate the risk, as research by psychologists has shown.

For example, one study found that people were willing to pay much more to reduce a pesticide risk from 5 in 10,000 to 0 in 10,000 than from 15 in 10,000 to 10 in 10,000, even though the actual reduction in risk was identical. A similar study concluded that people were more attracted to a vaccine said to entirely eliminate a 10% risk for a disease than to one that reduced the risk from 20% to 10%. And a third one found that a vaccine described as 100% effective in preventing 70% of known cases of a disease was more appealing than one that was 70% effective in preventing all cases even though both would have the same net effect.

Even if we follow all recommendations about sheltering in place, washing hands, wearing masks and disinfecting grocery deliveries, we can only reduce and not eliminate the chance of catching COVID-19.

Will people continue to feel that it’s really worth it to sanitize all those plastic bags from the supermarket if the only effect is to reduce the odds from, say, 1 in 2,000 to 1 in 3,000?

Invisible impact

Another reason the benefits of prevention seem intangible is that we don’t get useful feedback about the effects of our actions.

The microbes are invisible, so we have no idea whether we had them before we washed our hands or have gotten rid of them after we have done so.

In addition, we get no feedback about how a particular protective action has changed our probability of getting infected. If all of our actions work, the outcome is that we don’t get sick. But not being sick was the state we were in before we took those actions. Thus, it seems as if the preventive actions caused nothing to happen because we can’t see the negative outcome that might have happened if we hadn’t been so vigilant.

Documenting such a pattern, studies of treatment for depression have found that many patients skip or discontinue taking antidepressants as soon as their symptoms improve, leading to relapse.

The same is likely true at a societal level. If all the sacrifices people are making pay off in the form of lower infection rates, people will point to those low rates as evidence that the sacrifices weren’t actually necessary. Such a pattern has been documented among anti-vaxxers, who claim that low rates of diseases that are vaccinated against are evidence that the vaccine wasn’t needed in the first place.

When one is healthy, it is very difficult to imagine being sick – even when one has been sick in the past. This probably has something to do with low rates of adherence to lifesaving medications.

For example, one year after hospitalization for a heart attack, nearly half of patients prescribed statins stop taking them. And rates of medication adherence for acute diabetics are similarly dismal.

In both cases, people who are healthy – or even those who are sick but not experiencing immediate symptoms – don’t appear to appreciate the risks of failing to protect themselves.

Constant vigilance

So how can we sustain vigilance in the face of pervasive intangibility?

We could remind ourselves that life rarely offers certainty, and behaviors that reduce risk significantly are worth continuing even if they don’t eliminate it altogether. Or we could try to keep in mind those who have been hospitalized or even killed by COVID-19 – a fate that could befall any of us.

Realistically, however, neither of these approaches is likely to have much traction due to the intangibility of the effects of preventive behaviors. And so the best policies are those that eliminate the need for individual decision-making altogether, such as when stores ensure grocery carts and public spaces are kept well sanitized.

As for policymakers, they could compel companies to maintain these measures as a condition of being open. And they could design regulations that require people to continue to wear face masks in public or don gloves when entering public buildings, while lightly punishing those who don’t comply. Small penalties can have a huge impact on behavior.

The longer these behaviors are maintained, the more likely it is that they’ll become habitual, overcoming the problem of their benefits being intangible. And society will be able to get back to some semblance of normal while keeping the lid on the coronavirus.

By Mr. Edwyne Fernandes
Published May 31, 2020

This is an updated version of an article originally published on April 20, 2020.
https://theconversation.com


Global Hand Hygiene Monitoring System Market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.8% over the Forecast Period, Owing to Growing Popularity of Digital Solutions, says Absolute Markets Insights

Hand Hygiene monitoring system market is witnessing lucrative growth opportunities and is driven by the new age technological solutions. The digital age has revolutionized the conventional practices of Hygiene. New age solutions such Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and others have facilitated real time monitoring and controlling the Hygiene compliance of healthcare facilities, and other governmental and non-governmental facilities. The automatic and electronically operated hand Hygiene monitoring devices have enabled in overcoming the drawbacks associated with conventional systems such as inaccurate monitoring and wastage of resources in terms of time and labour, and combined the advantages of digital technologies such as IoT and cloud to further enhance the operability of these solutions. Companies including Logi-Tag Systems, manufacturer of IoT based solutions, has introduced RFID based platform for tracking and monitoring assets and ensure staff hand Hygiene. In other such instances, companies such as 9Solutions and AiRISTA Flow have launched SaaS solutions for hand Hygiene monitoring. Owing to the rise in patients with infectious diseases such as COVID-19, these solutions with cutting-edge digital technologies have assisted in complying with Hygiene standards and thus propelling the growth of global hand Hygiene monitoring system market.

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Another such technology which has potential future applications in hand Hygiene monitoring systems is Artificial Intelligence (AI). The AI technology not only has possible implications in enhancing the effectiveness of hand Hygiene compliance systems but also to analyse the data obtained from these systems. Leading global universities, including Stanford University are researching on intelligent hand Hygiene monitoring systems in partnership with healthcare providers. This research focuses on dispenser usage detection, physical space analytics and privacy safe assessment. Under this research, researchers are using information obtained from cameras to build computer algorithms to track hand Hygiene activities. Meanwhile, Wobot Intelligence, an Indian provider of AI powered video analytics, has developed AI based Hygiene tracking solution. The Handwash.ai solution from the company assists hospitals, commercial offices, hospitality providers and others to use their CCTV cameras along with a plug and play software to track hand-wash activity. Introduction of such solutions with a broader scope of end users and ease of use is anticipated to boost the growth of global hand Hygiene monitoring system market exponentially over forecast years.

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In terms of revenue, global hand Hygiene monitoring system market was valued at US$ 3850.6 Mn in 2018 and is anticipated to reach US$ 9701.9 Mn in 2027, growing at a CAGR of 9.8% over the forecast period. The study analyses the market in terms of revenue across all the major regions, which have been bifurcated into countries.

The detailed research study provides qualitative and quantitative analysis of hand Hygiene monitoring system market. The market has been analyzed from demand as well as supply side. The demand side analysis covers market revenue across regions and further across all the major countries. The supply side analysis covers the major market players and their regional and global presence and strategies. The geographical analysis done emphasizes on each of the major countries across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa and Latin America.

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Key Findings of the Report:

The global hand Hygiene monitoring system market was valued at US$ 3850.6 Mn in 2018 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 9.8% over the forecast period owing to digital solutions such as IoT, AI and others.
Hospitals held the maximum share in the global hand Hygiene monitoring system market in 2018 owing to mandatory compliance of regulatory guidelines.

Hardware Devices accounted for largest share in the global hand Hygiene monitoring system market in 2018 owing to rise in demand from hospitals and hospitality providers amongst others.
North America held the highest market share in global hand Hygiene monitoring system market in 2018. Asia Pacific is expected to grow at the highest CAGR over the forecast period owing to the expanding medical infrastructure.
Some of the players operating in the hand Hygiene monitoring system market are CenTrak, Proventix, Ecolab, BioVigil Healthcare Systems, Inc., STANLEY Healthcare, Midmark Corporation, HandGiene Corp, Deb Group and GOJO Industries, Inc. amongst others.

Global Hand Hygiene Monitoring System Market:

By End User
• Hospitals
• Health Clinics
• Ambulatory Surgery Centers
• Dialysis Centers
• Hospitality
• Veterinary
• Others

By Type
• Devices: Portable, Wall Mounted
• Software Solution & Services

By Region
• North America: U.S, Canada, Mexico, Rest of North America
• Europe: France, The UK, Spain, Germany, Italy. Nordic Countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway. Benelux Union: Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg. Rest of Europe
• Asia Pacific: China, Japan, India, New Zealand, Australia, South Korea. Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Rest of Southeast Asia.  Rest of Asia Pacific
• Middle East and Africa: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, South Africa, Rest of Middle East & Africa
• Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Rest of Latin America

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Absolute Markets Insights assists in providing accurate and latest trends related to consumer demand, consumer behavior, sales, and growth opportunities, for the better understanding of the market, thus helping in product designing, featuring, and demanding forecasts. Our experts provide you the end-products that can provide transparency, actionable data, cross-channel deployment program, performance, accurate testing capabilities and the ability to promote ongoing optimization.

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Published On 25 May 2020 01:03 AM
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