Hand Washing Essay

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Hand washing with soap and water has been used as a measure of personal hygiene for centuries and has been rooted in religious and cultural habits. The relation between hand washing and the transmission of disease was established only two centuries ago. This can be deemed as relatively early with respect to the discoveries of Pasteur and Lister that occurred decades later. In mid 1800’s Ignaz Semmelweis hypothesized that there was a relation of poor hand hygiene and transmission of nosocomial infections. Semmelweis is considered the father of hand hygiene. He recommended that hands should be scrubbed in a chlorinated lime solution before every patient contact and proposed the first evidence that cleaning heavily contaminated hands with an antiseptic…show more content…
Organisms present on the patient’s skin, or that has been shed onto inanimate objects in close vicinity to the patient, gets transferred to the hands of healthcare personnel. These organisms are capable of surviving for at least several minutes on the hands of personnel. Next, handwashing or hand antisepsis by the personnel may be inadequate or absent entirely, or the means used for hand hygiene may be inappropriate. Finally, the contaminated hands of the care giver comes in direct contact with another patient, or with an inanimate object that comes into direct contact with the patient. Healthcare associated infections can be transmitted not only from infected or draining wounds, but also from frequently colonized areas of normal, intact patient skin.[4] According to WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care various means used for hand hygiene are water, plain (non-antimicrobial) soap, Alcohols,Chlorhexidine, Chloroxylenol, Hexachlorophene, Iodine and idophores, Quaternary ammonium salts, Triclosans and other agents.[1] The important factor in assessing the suitability of a hand hygiene product for use in a clinical setting are its efficacy in preventing the transmission of microorganisms, adverse effects (odour, skin damage) for health care providers, ease of access for users, affordability, and concerns about the induction of resistant
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