Professor Sally Bloomfield, one of the reports authors, is the Chairman of the International Scientific Forum for Home Hygiene, the international organisation which produced report. She is also a member of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicines Hygiene Centre. She comments: 'With the colds and flu season approaching, it's important to know that good hand hygiene can really reduce the risks. What is important is not just knowing that we need to wash our hands but knowing when to wash them. Preventing the spread of colds and flu means good respiratory hygiene, which is quite different from good food hygiene. That's why the new respiratory hygiene campaign from the Department of Health in the UK, which advises people to "catch it, bin it, kill it", is spot on'.
The authors say that breaking the chain of infection from one person to another all depends on how well we wash our hands. If we don't do it properly, washing with soap and rinsing under running water, then we might as well not do it at all. They recommend also using an alcohol handrub in situations where there is high risk, such as after handling raw meat or poultry, or when there is an outbreak of colds or stomach bugs in the family home or workplace, or if someone in the family is more vulnerable to infection. They suggest carrying an alcohol rub or sanitiser at all times so that good hand hygiene can still be observed away from home in situations where there is no soap and water available.
Carol O'Boyle, of the School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, and a co-author of the report, says: 'Hand hygiene is ju
|Contact: Sally Bloomfield|
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine