Tag Archives: national hand hygiene day

Hand Washing & How to Prevent Dermatitis

Handwashing with Soap
Hand washing with soap Flickr | Arlingtonva County

During observational studies the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that health care workers cleaned their hands, on average, from five to thirty times during a shift. Whilst this is great for infection control you may be damaging your skin if you are regularly washing your hands.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 60ml
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 60ml

The British Association of Dermatitis (BAD) suggests washing your hands more than 10 times a day increases your change of skin conditions such as Dermatitis. One of the most common forms is Irritant Contact Dermatitis which has symptoms from irritation, dryness and itching to cracking and bleeding.  It is very common amongst medical professionals.

Dermatitis can occur due to many factors, including soaps, harsh chemicals and repeated contact with water. Frequent hand washing can remove the oils in your skin that are vital to protect and moisturise it. Without these your hands can become dry and your skin will be more vulnerable to chemicals and irritants. Allergic Dermatitis can also occur with hand sanitising products and gloves.

Protect Your Hands

At Medisave we know how important it is to practice good hand hygiene but we don’t want your hands to suffer. The following steps can help to reduce soreness and protect your hands.

Love your hands
Love your hands Flickr | le vent le cri

Use an Alcohol Based Hand Sanitiser

When hand washing use an alcohol based hand sanitisers containingemollients (moisturisers) rather than soap to reduce Dermatitis symptoms. Emollients are a mixture of oils (creams), paraffin (ointments) and water. These hydrate and smooth the skin, helping to reduce soreness and prevent skin from become dry or cracked.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Virucidal Alcohol 750ml Hand Gel
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Virucidal Alcohol 750ml Hand Gel

Swap to Hand Sanitisers

These use less fluid so they are gentler on your skin. These will also last longer than a regular handwash so can be great for your budget too!ecolab soap banner

Check Your Glove Material

Check your glove material if you are getting flare ups, you may be having an allergic reaction to the material. We sell a variety of gloves including latex free versions.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 500ml
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pump 500ml

When selecting a glove material (PVC, Nitrile, latex etc) you should consider the chemicals or allergens being used. The British association of Dermatologists (BAD) advise that gloves should be clean and dry inside and not broken. This is important as applying gloves to wet hands can increase the chance of skin irritation.

Wear a Barrier Cream

Wear a barrier cream when you are dealing with chemicals and gloves can’t be worn. This should stop irritants from making contact with your skin. After the process you can then cleanse your hands with an alcohol based hand sanitiser or foam sanitiser.

hand moisturising

Moisturise Your Hands

Moisturise your Hands will help to reduce dryness, soreness and cracking. Non-scented products will be less likely to cause flare-ups. Some petroleum based moisturisers can cause Latex gloves to deteriorate, if you are working with these would be better to opt for a water based moisturiser.

Use pH Neutral Soaps

Some situations do require hand washing with soap and water rather than using a sanitiser.  The gentlest soaps will be pH neutral. Aloe Vera is often used in moisturisers as it has great healing properties, however we suggest choosing a lanolin option as this is a better moisturiser.

Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pouch 800ml
Ecolab Spirigel Complete Pouch 800ml

Although Lanolin is a great moisturiser it can sometimes cause allergic reactions, particularly if its not a pure form. There are many Lanolin products on the market, you should opt for a pharmaceutical product containing medical grade Lanolin. These will contain the purest form of Lanolin and will be less likely to cause allergic reactions or aggravate Dermatitis.

Visit Your GP

Please note that this is a guide to help prevent and handle dermatitis, however it should not replace professional medical advise or HSE recommendations. If you are experiencing extremely sore hands or the symptoms do not improve please visit your GP. They can check for any skin conditions you may have and in some circumstances they may prescribe medication.

References

http://www.bad.org.uk/for-the-public/patient-information-leaflets/hand-dermatitis/

http://www.eczema.org/contact-dermatitis

http://www.dermnetnz.org/topics/hand-care-for-healthcare-workers/

http://www.cleanlink.com/sm/article/Preventing-Dermatitis-Without-Sacrificing-Good-Hand-Hygiene–11851

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK144008/

http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/04April/Pages/NICE-highlights-how-hand-washing-saves-lives.aspx

http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/69323/1/WHO_EIP_SPO_QPS_05.2.REV.1_eng.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK144008/

There’s More to Hand Hygiene Than Hand Washing

The simple washroom sign ‘Now wash your hands’ is literally a lifesaver. Millions of infections would be avoided if people took a moment to clean their hands correctly. Worryingly, the biggest source of this problem is in healthcare settings, such as hospitals.

A visit to hospital, a medical clinic or a dental surgery may not only bring healing, but also exposure to microorganisms that cause infection. Whenever there is physical contact between a patient and a member of the medical team, or a piece of equipment, there’s a risk of contamination. But the one action that would cut these dramatically is, according to the WHO, the correct and timely washing of hands.

On 5 May 2016 the World Health Organisation (WHO) ran its annual event to highlight the importance of hand hygiene with its SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign. This year the message focused on infection prevention and control in healthcare environments.

Key facts shared by WHO on Hand Hygiene Day 2016

– 61% of healthcare workers do not clean their hands at the right moment.
– one in two surgical staff do not clean their hands at the right moment.

The secret to good hand hygiene comes not only from knowing how to wash your hands effectively, but from knowing when to wash your hands.

Continue reading There’s More to Hand Hygiene Than Hand Washing