Today, 5th May, is World Hand Hygiene Day, a global campaign from the World Health Organisation (WHO) promoting hand washing for preventing the spread of infection. It's also why we designed the Optitherm Thermostatic tap.
Hand hygiene has long been recognised as being the single most effective measure for preventing the spread of disease.
It is now well-known that simple soap and water easily breaks down the cell membranes of pathogens like CoVID-19 and other harmful bacteria and viruses.
It is also Glove Awareness Week this week, 2-6 May. It's a campaign from the Royal College of Nursing that goes hand-in-hand with World Hand Hygiene Day and aims to reduce the overuse/misuse of PPE gloves in health and social care.
Gloves are the most common single-use plastic item in use across healthcare in the UK, and the Covid pandemic also saw a significant uptick. Did you know, in England alone, a staggering 5.5 billion gloves were used last year across NHS and social care settings?
Why is excessing glove use bad?
Aside from the significant environmental impact and unnecessary procurement costs, it's been observed* by a growing number of healthcare bodies and hospitals that excessive glove use:
Most patient contact procedures don't, in fact, require the use of gloves - where there is no risk of bodily fluid contact, the skin (care-giver or patient) is unbroken, and there are no harmful treatment chemicals. As others have put it, if it's wet and sticky, and not yours, you should be wearing gloves.
A simple solution: just wash your hands
Stop, think, risk assess, do the task (ungloved or gloved), wash your hands.
Hand hygiene, with soap, under safe, thermostatically controlled warm water, without splashing, is so comfortable with the award-winning Horne Optitherm medical tap. Its on-off lever control also allows for hands-free operation.
It's a win-win for patient safety, budgets and the environment! Be mindful of glove use, understand the effectiveness of hand-washing, and hand hygiene compliance really should improve.
* Health Protection Scotland / Royal College of Nursing / Great Ormond Street Hospital (Gloves Off campaign)