DOCTOR CALLING: By Dr Kevin Hill
Each year, tens of thousands of people are hospitalised because of flu. Flu is highly contagious and those in hospital are much more vulnerable to the severe effects of flu. Once flu is circulating, apart from vaccination, good hand hygiene is the main way to prevent it spreading.
Hand washing with warm water and soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Studies show it lowers the transmission of flu, colds and diarrhoea, both at work and home, as well as in NHS facilities. Parents are being reminded to make sure that their little ones are taught how to wash their hands properly, particularly if they’re around grandparents or friends and relatives that are ill.
Dr Kevin Hill, Chair of NHS South Lincolnshire CCG, said: “Preventing the spread of germs is the most effective way of slowing the spread of flu. The power is literally in everyone’s hands because washing our hands with soap is one of the most effective ways of creating healthier communities.
“Good hand hygiene is important, not only in preventing colds and flu, but it also has an effect in limiting other diseases such as norovirus, which is prevalent in winter. To clamp down on germs, we all need to ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’: use a tissue to catch coughs or sneezes, and then throw away the tissue. Finally, kill the germs by washing our hands.
“These simple measures, plus not visiting a patient in hospital if you are unwell yourself, can make a big difference and will help protect you, your family and those around you.
The top ten tips that the NHS recommends for hand washing are:
1. Wet hands
2. Apply enough handwash to cover all hand surfaces
3. Rub hands palm to palm
4. Right palm over the other hand with interlaced fingers and vice versa
5. Palm to palm with fingers interlaced
6. Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers inter-locked
7. Left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
8. Rub clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa
9. Rinse hands thoroughly
10. Dry thoroughly.