The German Federal Ministry of Health has also confirmed that good hand hygiene is an important part of prevention and essential for protection against infection. Our hands come into contact with germs much more often than we are aware, whether by shaking hands or by touching objects that are constantly passed on from hand to hand, such as door handles. And once germs are on our hands, they follow a predictable path via the face into the nose and mouth. Regular and thorough washing of hands stops this typical transmission path.
Even clean hands are "dirty"
Germs are invisible to the human eye and can even be found on apparently clean hands. This is why it is even more important to thoroughly and regularly wash your hands, especially when you come out of a public washroom. Studies have shown that regular and thorough hand washing can reduce the rate of new infections of the respiratory tract by up to 21 percent.
And here is how good hand hygiene works:
- Wash the insides and backs of your hands, your fingertips and the spaces in between evenly with soap for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Dry your hands thoroughly with individually dispensed paper towels – preferably from a touchless dispenser – to remove any remaining germs.
- Avoid hot air or jet air dryers as these pose the risk of cross-contamination due to the air whirls.
- In general, make sure that the soap and paper towel dispenser housings in busy washrooms are equipped with modern touchless technology. After all, less direct contact is always a good thing, and not just while we're in the grip of a virus.
- Paper towels can be used by several people in parallel without waiting times, which is not possible with hot air blowers or jet air dryers. This in turn reduces the time you have to spend with others in a small washroom.
Before Corona is after influenza
COVID-19 aside, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) also has its work cut out with the annual flu epidemic. Since October 2019 alone, around 120,000 cases of the flu have been confirmed in Germany, resulting in around 200 deaths so far. These sad figures show that even if the health authorities manage to contain the spread of the coronavirus soon and fight it with a vaccine, other germs have not been conquered by any means. This is more than enough reason to bring hand hygiene into focus as the simplest and most practical preventive measure against viral diseases and to continue to emphasise its importance.