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Local health organisations highlight the importance of good hand hygiene to protect our population this winter

Global Handwashing Day 2020.PNG

Health and care organisations across Warwickshire urge you to do the right thing for your family, friends and community by regularly washing your hands to protect against serious viruses.

This year, the global COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder that the most effective way to stop the spread of potentially deadly viruses and to save lives is good hand hygiene. Frequent hand washing can stop the spread of bacteria, dirt and viruses to objects and other people, including vulnerable members of our society. This is why your local health and care organisations are supporting Global Hand Washing Day (Thursday 15 October) and International Infection Prevention Week (Sunday 18 – Saturday 24 October), as well as using the events as an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of effective hand washing all year round. 

This year’s Global Hand Washing Day theme, Hand Hygiene for All, calls for all of society to achieve worldwide hand hygiene. Therefore, we are asking everyone in Warwickshire to ensure they are regularly washing their hands, with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, for the following reasons:

  • regularly throughout the day to reduce viral contamination on hands
  • after using the toilet or changing a nappy
  • before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
  • before eating or handling food
  • after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
  • before and after treating a cut or wound
  • after touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust’s Medical Director, Catherine Free, said: “Winter has historically been a tough period for healthcare organisations as demand for our services increases. However, as we move into this winter we have the new added challenge of COVID-19. Therefore, to ensure we can care for the people that need us the most we are urging our local population to look after themselves this winter by regularly washing their hands. Not only will this help to protect you and your loved ones from flu, COVID-19, Norovirus and other winter bugs it will also help to protect the vulnerable people within our society, who if they contracted a virus or infection are less able to fight it.

“This is a community effort and we would appreciate your support in stopping the spread of viruses and bacteria. Please do the right thing and wash your hands.”

South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s Head of Infection Prevention, Christine Georgeu, said: “We have worked very hard to implement all the necessary measures to ensure our hospitals and community health services in Warwickshire are safe for patients to attend. Hand washing is one of the most effective measures to stop the spread of bacteria and serious viruses.

“All of us will have observed members of the public wearing gloves, which they think are offering protection, however these become rapidly contaminated and present a significant cross-infection risk. Therefore, to protect our patients, healthcare staff and us all we would strongly encourage you to maintain good hand hygiene in the community and when visiting local hospitals or other healthcare services.

“We would also like to reiterate, as well as the importance of regular hand washing, the significance of following national social distancing and mask wearing guidelines to protect yourselves, loved ones and our patients and staff against COVID-19 and other seasonal related illnesses this winter.”

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