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Washing your hands, the most effective way to avoid infection

Professionals from the Clínico demonstrated the best way to wash your hands.
Professionals from the Clínico demonstrated the best way to wash your hands. / SUR
  • Professionals from Hospital Clínico explain how hygienic practices can combat the spread of germs

To mark World Hand Hygiene Day (5 May), professionals from the unit for clinical management of infectious illnesses, microbiology and preventative medicine at Malaga's Hospital Clínico conducted special sessions to explain how to wash your hands correctly in order to prevent the spread of infections.

Their message was clear. Germs and bacteria are the invisible enemies of the human race. They can cause serious infectious illnesses such as sepsis. Washing your hands is by far the best way to avoid this risk. Soap and water or hydroalcoholic solutions can stop the spread of microbes and, consequently, prevent infections.

The aim of the sessions was to raise awareness and educate people about good hygiene practice and what this means for patients and safety levels. As well as practical advice, attendees (representatives of associations, patients, family members and carers) received illustrated pamphlets. They also took home a travel-size bottle of hand sanitiser.

Hand hygiene is especially important for those coming into direct contact with hospital patients: healthcare professionals, families and other patients. Physical contact can cause the transmission of bacteria between visitors and patients and vice versa.

Experts consulted by SUR support this advice, highlighting the fact that hands carry an elevated number of pathogens. Some of these bacteria are very resistant to antibiotics, which can hinder the work of pharmacists when it comes to treating patients.

Blanca O'Donnell, preventative medicine specialist at the Hospital Clínico explains that the team of professionals in her unit is coordinated with the rest of the hospital when it comes to safe practice and hand washing.

“The frequency of infections in our hospital is 4.8 per cent, which is below the 5.4 per cent average for hospitals in Spain,” said Dr O'Donnell. This Malaga hospital was recognised in 2017, when it received a 'Safe Hands' distinction from the Observatory for Patient Safety.