Importance of Handwashing

Published on
February 4, 2022 at 10:16:00 AM PST February 4, 2022 at 10:16:00 AM PSTth, February 4, 2022 at 10:16:00 AM PST

Washing hands prevents illnesses and spread of infections to others

The CDC is reporting elevated flu activity in the United States. Help your team avoid the flu by taking these every day precautions. Keeping hands and surfaces clean is still one of the best ways to avoid the spread of germs. Education and awareness goes a long way too. Here is some useful information, along with products designed to keep your facility clean and germ-free.

 

Know the Difference: Cold vs Flu/Influenza

 

Colds are usually milder than the flu. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, or hospitalizations. Over 200 different viruses can cause the common cold. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose.

 

Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The CDC recommends getting a flu shot, and avoiding contact with those who are already sick. Wash hands regularly with soap and water followed by a quality hand sanitizer.

 

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections because:

  • People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
  • Removing germs through handwashing therefore helps prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.

How does Handwashing help?

  • Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40%
  • Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%
  • Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57%

 

How to Correctly Wash your Hands:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing your hands often, for at least 20 seconds at a time. When rubbing soap on your hands, be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between the fingers, and under your nails.


Don’t worry about getting the water very hot. Most people believe using hot water is more effective than washing with warm, room temperature, or cold water. But there’s no evidence to support this. Heat does kill bacteria, but at a much higher temperature than is comfortable for washing your hands.


“There is no one best water temperature to wash one’s hands,” says Dr. Grief. “If your hands are really dirty and greasy, use of warm to hot water will do a better job of trapping dirt and grease within the soap, allowing for a more thorough cleaning.”


The type of soap also doesn’t typically matter, according to Grief, “as long as it lathers and spreads over the hands sufficiently to trap the germs.”

 

Using Sanitizer if Soap is not Available:

According to the CDC, sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60 percent and 95 percent are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based sanitizers. The right way to use a sanitizer is to apply it to the palm of one hand and rub it all over the surfaces of both hands until they’re dry.

 

Soaps & Sanitizers Best for the Food Industry:

E707 Soap:

Alpet Q E2 is an ideal foaming soap for all food processing environments. Engineered with a powerful Benzalkonium Chloride formula, Alpet Q E2 enhances the skin’s protective barrier while cleansing at the same time. Over 3,150 applications per gallon. 0.12% Benzalkonium Chloride (BAC) formula. Enhances the skin’s protective barrier while cleansing at the same time. PH balanced and formulated with emollients to keep skin healthy. NSF registered E2 classification. Kosher certified and Pareve. Rich, thick foam. Available in 1250 mL cartridge, one gallon bottle, 55 gallon drum and 250 gallon tote.

 

E703 Sanitizer:

Smart-San Hand Sanitizer Foam (62% Ethanol) possess the advanced efficacy of our spray products. Smart-San Hand Sanitizer Foam can be dispensed from the VersaClenz Hand Hygiene Dispenser. Kills 99.999% of 26 Tested Pathogens in 15 Seconds. 62% Ethanol Formula. Rich, Thick Foam. 1250 ml. Best Suited for: Food Service / Grocery, Office Wellness, Industrial Hygiene, Healthcare, Education, and Municipalities.

 

 

References: CDC.GOV Handwashing, Everyday Health – Flu Season Tips, Best Sanitizers