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Tuesday, 4th May 2021

Hand hygiene, not just for COVID, for life!

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96% of people are washing their hands more often as a result of COVID-19 and 90% of people say that they will continue to clean their hands frequently after the pandemic is over.

Tomorrow, Wednesday the 5th of May is the World Health Organisation’s Hand Hygiene Day around the world.  

The HSE's National Lead for Antibiotic Resistance and Infection Control, Professor Martin Cormican, says: “Most years when Hand Hygiene Day comes around we have to ask ourselves how do find a fresh way to talk to people about the importance of hand hygiene in preventing infection.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in a very different place with hand hygiene this year. Preventing infection with COVID-19 has been on everyone’s mind and hand hygiene has had a major part to play.”

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic started a lot of people are now very aware of the importance of hand hygiene and are cleaning their hands regularly. The COVID-19 virus can’t get through your skin but if the virus is on your hand when you put your hand to your eye, mouth or nose you can catch infection. This is why hand hygiene plays an important part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 infection, as well as preventing all the other infections that are still out there.”

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“Department of Health research shows that 96% of people are washing their hands more often as a result of COVID-19 and 90% of people say that they will continue to clean their hands frequently after the pandemic is over.

“However we also know that people tend to go back to their old habits when a crisis starts to get better so it is vitally important that we all understand that hand hygiene is not just for CVOID-19 it’s for life.”

GP Nuala O’Connor says, “All GPs have seen a dramatic decrease in the numbers of people who are suffering from respiratory infections.  We have not had a flu season in Ireland this year and many parents will identify with the fact that their young children have not had the normal 6- 10 viral illnesses they normally get every year.  

“Hand hygiene plays a part in this.  We want people to keep on going with their hand hygiene, help your children to learn good hand hygiene and help us to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other infections.”

You can help protect yourself and your family from an infection or superbug:

Wash your hands properly and often:

  •        After coughing or sneezing
  •        Before and after preparing food and eating
  •        After using the toilet or changing a child’s nappy
  •        If you were in contact with someone who has COVID-19, a fever or respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing)
  •        Before and after being in a crowd (especially an indoor crowd)
  •        On entering and before leaving buildings, including your home or anyone else's home
  •        After touching animals or animal waste
  •        Before and after visiting someone in a hospital or residential setting

Regular use of a hand moisturiser will protect your hands from the drying effects of hand hygiene products. If you have dry skin or a skin condition, apply moisturiser after washing and drying your hands.

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