SANITIZERS: why you still need them

Even with the adverts of Dettol everyday on our screens, some of us have refused to stick to the habit of washing our hands frequently but with the advent of Ebola (no thanks to Mr. Patrick Sawyer though late now), most of us have come to recognize the importance of washing our hands throughout the day. We keep our sanitizers in our pockets, antiseptic soaps on the sinks, and after events where we got to meet people and of course shook hands, we come back to scrub our hands like doctors going to perform surgery. But sometimes we are less concerned and in turn less clean then we let our guard down when we encounter objects that seem beyond the reach of germs-bacteria and viruses whereas we confront an array of fomites-(objects carrying infectious organisms) daily.
Here is a few list of things that you easily ignore but are actually a home for bacteria, viruses, and other beast…of course, micro-beast.

Money

Everyone wants a full wallet and a bulging pocket. If you are lucky enough to carry some riches, you might want to consider the other bounty in your billfold because it is a playground for pathogens.

Some scientists swabbed the hands, currency and credit cards of 272 people in London, Birmingham and Liverpool then tested for the presence of feacal bacteria. As expected, the hands were pretty filthy, but 8% of the swabs from the cards and 6% of the swabs from the bills had much feacal bacteria on them as you would find in a dirty toilet bowl. Maybe its time to sanitize your money and ATM cards.

Cell Phones

It’s sad that your smartphone isn’t smart enough to wade off these micro-beasts. A study done by some microbiologists at the University of Arizona revealed that you are going to find more germs on your phone than on your toilet seat. That is because your phone is so close to your face and hands as well as others’. Mobile phones have become veritable reservoirs of pathogens as they touch faces, ears, lips and hand of different users of different health conditions.
Some group of researchers studied bacteria removed from mobile devices and some of the germs found on it were sources of wide variety of nasty bugs such like flu and pink-eye while others could possibly cause fatal infections.
Taking out your device at food time isn’t just bad food etiquettes. This could be dangerous to your health as you could be dialing up some bacteria into your meal.

Pen

If you believe the pen is mightier than the sword proverbially, maybe it’s time to believe it practically.
Courtesy of Dr. J. Owen Hendley professor of pediatrics at the university of Virgina, studies shows that rhinovirus which causes common cold is prevalent in hotel rooms especially on door handles, TV remotes, light switches, phones, alarm clocks but they also found a large number on hotel pens. By extrapolation, it’s safe to assume that other communal pens at banks, grocery stores, registration centers are just as infected. In fact, Dr. Neil Schachter, a pulmonary disease specialist at Mount Sinal hospital recommends that you should carry your own pen at all times.

Hand Railings

Stairway, escalators can get you injured if you fall but it doesn’t stop there, the ‘safety’ railings may still try to hurt you even when you don’t fall.
A research suggested that escalators and steps hand rails is the third filthiest objects in a mall. The studies uncovered disgusting items such as food, blood, mucus, urine and faeces on the railings. Also present are potentially pathogenic bacteria such as E.coli and bugs common to the upper respiratory tract.
Hmmn….would you wear a hand glove and don’t ever think of not using the railings.

 

Infections

Way back in the history of Microbiology, it had been suggested by Ignaz Semmelweis – a physician to other physicians to wash their hands at intervals, before and after an operation. He was definitely right about that and it reduced the infection rate amongst the patients. But sadly enough, hospital acquired infections rate is still alarming and it has proved to be a major problem in health care facilities. Averagely, about 100000 Americans die yearly from infections they contract during their stay in the hospital, which is more than those killed by guns, motor accidents and leukemia combined.
These HAIs increases a patient stay in the hospital by about 8days in ICUs and between 7days to 10days in acute care wards, thereby increasing expense and denying new patients of needed hospital beds.
However, a study was done to determine if hand sanitizers has an effect on infection rate in Hospitals. Both patients and caregivers were informed about the study and were given portable hand sanitizers and a bronchure on how and why to practice good hand hygiene. After 10 months of data collection and studies, the researchers recorded a about 36% reduction in infection rate.

This might not totally eliminate contraction of infections, but it sure has the capacity to reduce contraction and infection rate. For alcohol based hand sanitizers, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a concentration of 60% to 95% ethanol or isopropanol – the concentration range of greatest germicidal efficacy.

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