- Sept. 28, 2017
-- Drug resistant superbugs, such as methicillin-
resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), first entered the headlines in the 1990s and while incidences of sepsis relating to MSRA have fallen over the past decade, Escherichia coli-related deaths have grown by 20% over the past five years. Some 80% of infections, - whether bacterial, viral or fungal - are spread by touch. 1 The sad fact is that a good proportion of those could be prevented through better hygiene.
The cleaning regime is key to managing risk by preventing infection. This is timeconsuming and expensive, but factoring in intelligent design choices can help reduce both factors. As any healthcare professional knows 'prevention is better than cure' and the greatest risk lies in poor hand hygiene. Alcohol sanitisers are now a standard feature in institutions across the country, but the challenge lies in encouraging the public to use them. Unfortunately, it seems that hand hygiene simply is not a particular priority for some. While this may seem a sweeping statement, research released by the British Toilet Association found that only one in three people always wash their hands after using the loo. We can touch 300 surfaces in half an hour, so clearly the potential for transferring pathogens is significant.
If you cannot always persuade users to do the right thing, how can you 'make' them do it? The answer lies in sanitising gel dispensing door handles, which release virucidal gel when pulled. Independent swab testing has shown that gel dispensing handles reduce colony forming units by 87% when compared to standard door handles. 2 Moreover, they reduced the Total Viable Count of bacterial loading in hand swab results by a factor of 100. The beauty is if someone wants to enter or exit an area where one is installed, they have no option: their hands will be disinfected as the door is opened.
It makes sense to install these systems at strategic points, such as entry points to hospital wards or canteens and the exits of washrooms. However, they can be used equally well as part of a holistic hygiene strategy throughout a facility. Combining these dispensers with sanitising foot baths at points of entry (for example), will have a very positive impact on overall hygiene.
1. Philip M. Tierno, 2004, The Secret Life of Germs (www.simonandschuster.com)