GlobalHandwashingDay : The Covid-19 pandemic provides a stark reminder that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of a virus is also one of the simplest: hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap.
To beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic, handwashing with soap must be a priority now and in the future.
This year's theme, Hand Hygiene for All, calls for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene.
The link between handwashing and health was first established less than two centuries ago.
Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor working in Vienna General Hospital, is known as the father of hand hygiene. In 1846, he noticed that the women giving birth in the medical student/doctor-run maternity ward, in his hospital, were much more likely to develop a fever and die, compared to the women giving birth. He noticed that doctors and medical students often visited the maternity ward directly after performing an autopsy.
Taking cognizance of the seriousness, Semmelweis imposed a new rule mandating handwashing with chlorine for doctors. The rates of death in his maternity ward fell dramatically. This was the first proof that cleansing hands could prevent infection.
A few years later in Scutari-Italy, the Crimean War brought about a new handwashing champion, Florence Nightingale. At a time when most people believed that infections were caused by foul odors called miasmas, Florence Nightingale implemented handwashing and other hygiene practices in the war hospital in which she worked.
Sadly, handwashing promotion stood still for over a century. It was not until the 1980s, when a string of food-borne outbreaks and healthcare-associated infections led to public concern.
SITUATION IN INDIA
Communicating the importance of washing hands with soap to avoid Covid-19 spread is a daunting task in India as only 35.8 per cent households in the country practice hand-washing with soap or detergent before a meal, while 60 per cent households wash hands only with water.
The National Sample Survey (NSS) 76th round report-2019, reveals that 25.3 per cent households in rural India and 56 per cent in urban wash hands with soap or detergent before a meal. Also, 2.7 per cent households wash hands with ash, mud, and sand before meals.
In rural areas, 70 per cent people wash hands with water without soap or detergent, before a meal, and in urban areas, 42 per cent of people follow this practice.
What is more alarming is that about 26 per cent people in India don't wash their hands with soap or detergent after defecation. 13.4 per cent households (15.2 per cent rural and 9.8 per cent urban) wash hands only with water after defecation. Two-third toilets in India have water and soap/detergent available in or around the toilets.
Diarrhoea and pneumonia are leading causes of death for children under the age of five. Handwashing can save lives and can decrease diarrhoea by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter.<br> <br>Handwashing with soap impacts not just health and nutrition, but also education, economics, and equity.
(Pavan Kaushik can be reached at [email protected]. The views expressed are personal.)
From the early days of the coronavirus outbreak, experts have warned of a mounting mental health crisis as people contend with a pandemic that has upended their lives.
The Covid-19 crisis has presented profound challenges for those whose obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) symptoms align with current concerns. For example, guidance on how good hygiene can stop the spread of the virus may cause some to go to extremes.
Doctors said that those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and other severe anxieties face uniquely challenging mental health battles, including trying to distinguish concerns brought on by their conditions from general fears shared by the public about Covid-19.
People with OCD feel compelled to perform certain behaviours, such as compulsive cleaning repeatedly, and they may fixate on routines. OCD can also cause non-stop, intrusive thoughts.
Smriti, 24, was always afraid of holding the bar of metro or bus and carried a sanitiser in case she used a public washroom even when there was no Covid around. However, in the past few months, though she has not left the house much, Smriti has started washing her hands more frequently, and without any extra nudge from anybody.
Doctors said Smriti is not one-of-her-kind -- they are increasingly getting patients with dry skin caused by excessive hand wash, or washing laundry, or cleaning surfaces such as kitchen slabs and doorknobs.
Dr. Shanu Shrivastav, senior psychologist, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, (ISIC), New Delhi, said that his hospital is receiving at least two patients daily who have suffered dermatological issues triggered by their OCD.
"Since April, we have received 1-2 patients daily who have visited local physicians for skin related problems and were referred to as psychological counselling. About 60 per cent of these patients were going out for work before the pandemic, which made them think that they have already been exposed to the virus and have carried it home.
"Those who have a child or elderly at home were more scared than working couples with no children or parents living with them. We offer to counsel and ask them to be reasonable in their fear as well as precautions - they must watch out for those moments when they start overdoing any hygiene practice," he added.
Dr Akshay Budhraja, Senior Pulmonologist, Aakash Healthcare, New Delhi, said that people aged 35 and above are more susceptible to obsessive disorders.
"People below the age of 35 are more prone than others to develop compulsive habits as they rigorously follow the hygiene guidelines to keep Covid at bay. Some of the patients are stressed as they want to stop behaving obsessively but cannot do so, which is why they decided to seek professional help."
He also said that the influx of patients with OCD of sanitisation increased a month after the lockdown.
"We started getting such patients around one month after the lockdown and have received 50 per cent patients so far routed to us by the Psychiatrist department. The other common traits shown by these people are hoarding of soaps and sanitizers and excessive use of masks and other protective gears," Dr Budhraja added.
With the wave of Covid in India, came a lot of lifestyle changes to be adopted by the people. The experts have seen the change in response of people to their daily lives. The positive aspect which we have seen was hygiene development, but the other element was overdoing the same.
The causes which have triggered the OCD among people are changed lifestyle, fear among them of Covid-19, contamination anxiety, the distress among people to take care of their families in these crises leading to obsessive cleaning and sanitizing.
However, doctors said that OCD can be treated through psychotherapy or medications, or combining both.
"Anti-depressants may help lessen symptoms of OCD while talk therapy with a mental health professional can help bring changes in thought and behaviour patterns. Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and exposure and response therapy are types of talk therapy found effective for many people. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) enables a person with OCD to deal with the anxiety associated with obsessive thoughts without engaging in the compulsive behaviour," Dr Budhraja added.
The doctors also alarmed people to identify habits concerned with becoming obsessive behaviour -- washing hands for the end number of times, If your mind is setting a particular count to wash your hands like 20 times, 50 times or any other number. (agency)
New York, Aug 23 (IANS) If you are among those who get creeped out by bugs and grossed out by germs, it was a blessing in disguise as such psychological behaviour has led people engage in more preventative measures like frequent handwashing and disinfecting the living environment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.More than other factors, strong feelings of germ aversion and pathogen disgust are significantly associated with concern about Covid-19 and preventative behaviour, according to researchers from the University of Connecticut in the US."When we feel disgust towards something, our behavioural response is to avoid it and get away from it, but people vary in their experience of disgust," said Natalie J. Shook, principal investigator for the study.Shook and her team asked study participants about their overall concerns about Covid-19 and about how often they engaged in preventative health behaviours like physical distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding touching their face, wearing a face mask, and cleaning and disinfecting."What we found in our data set was that the most consistent predictors of concern about Covid and then engagement in preventative health behaviours are actually those psychological disease avoidance factors," Shook said in a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.More than factors like age, perceived risk, or political stance, individuals who indicated strong feelings of germ aversion and pathogen disgust also reported greater concern for Covid-19 and increased participation in preventive behaviours.The researchers also found that the people most likely to be impacted by the virus are not necessarily those most likely to be engaging in preventative behaviours."Older participants reported more concern about Covid, which makes sense as they're at higher risk," Shook said.Individuals with higher incomes were associated with more engagement in physical distancing and cleaning behaviours, but they would also have greater access to resources -- like cleaning supplies -- and the potential to work from home because of their socio-economic status.Recent illness and general perceived health were also linked with many preventive health behaviours, though the individual reasons could vary, from motivations to prevent others from becoming ill to greater awareness due to a recent illness.The findings identify a variety of characteristics that may place individuals at risk for contracting and spreading disease during a pandemic, according to researchers.--IANS na/dpb
New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) ITC Hotels has launched a first-of-its-kind initiative on health, hygiene and safety with NABH accreditation and DNV-GL Business Assurance certification to ensure stringent clinical levels of hygiene. ITC Hotels today announced the launch of its "WeAssure" initiative, in a first for the hospitality industry, the guests of ITC Hotels will be reassured by an accreditation by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) - the leading standards organisation for sanitation, hygiene, safety and infection control practices, said a company statement. ITC Hotels is also partnering with DNV GL Business Assurance, one of the world's leading certification bodies, to ensure stringent clinical levels of hygiene and safety. These assurance certifications will stand testimony to the rigorous hygiene protocol being put in place to ensure the safety of guests and associates at ITC Hotels, across India."We are committed to delivering world-class luxury experiences that address the most important needs of wellbeing and safety through responsible practices that are immensely relevant in the unprecedented circumstances we face today. ‘WeAssure' is a unique programme designed in collaboration with medical professionals and disinfection experts to further enhance the existing hygiene & cleaning protocols. The stringent program specifications reassure guests of visibly stringent cleanliness and disinfection processes which benchmark clinically hygienic standards, offering guests' unparalleled comfort with peace of mind" stated Nakul Anand, Executive Director-ITC Ltd.The accreditation by National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) will enhance existing procedures and controls in the area of sanitation, hygiene, safety and infection control thereby conforming to hospital level hygiene standards.DNV GL Business Assurance, a body that helps businesses assure the performance of their organization is evaluating a model, built around the three pillars of - Health, Hygiene and Safety. This will help ITC Hotels achieve higher levels of maturity around all facets of operations.‘WeAssure' is a holistic programme that addresses all facets of hotel operations. From revised protocols for back of the house activity at the receiving store, back offices, laundry to the public areas with heightened sanitization measures for guest luggage, elevators to room service.--IANSsan/sdr/
This lockdown for a lot of kids has meant access to cookies, pastries, candy and all things sweet throughout the day.
Since the schedules has changed for children, the usual routine of brushing twice and flossing may get disrupted, as they aren't spending blocks of time doing activities or going to school, and are also staying up late.
This is the time for parents to up their dental care game and ensure poor eating habits that may lead to dental issues.
So parents, please be alert! This is also the time for you to be extra vigilant.
Here are a few tips by Dr Premila Naidu, Founder and Director, Small Bites, to ensure good oral hygiene during the lockdown period:
Keep up with oral hygiene: Brushing twice a day and flossing daily is important. Although your kid may have been good about following this routine during the school year, you may need to remind them more often during this 'summer break'! Brushing and flossing will help get rid of destructive bacteria.
Healthy breakfast is the key: It is no secret that healthy breakfast makes a healthy body! But, studies show that good breakfast choices can lead to better dental health as well! Certain bacteria that is left behind on your teeth can produce acids that may lead to tooth decay. So, it is important to include whole grains, lots of fruit and avoid sticky carbohydrates in your kid's breakfast as these are less likely to promote tooth decay. Sweets in between meals also should be avoided as they encourage acid build-up in their mouths.
Watch the soda intake: It is no surprise that kids love sugary drinks and soda. As a parent, it is important to realise the importance of child's primary teeth that serve as placeholders for the permanent ones. So, limiting their intake of lemonade, soda, and juice is important as carbonated beverages and acidic juices can wear down tooth enamel. Adding a slice of lemon or other infused fruit to water will not only help sweeten the deal, but will also make it healthier.
Teach the right oral care techniques: Brushing and flossing are essential and important to keep teeth and gums healthy. It is equally important to do it the right way and hence children should be taught the correct techniques to do so. It is recommended to hold the toothbrush at a slight angle-towards the area where your tooth meets your gum and brush in small, gentle circles instead of vigorously moving the toothbrush back and forth. This ensures better cleaning and also keeps teeth safe from over-brushing. It also ensures that there is no bleeding or damage to the gums. Just like brushing, using dental floss also requires a lot of attention and care. As we have time in our hands now, it's good to start teaching the little ones about proper brushing. How to reach the back teeth and how to get all the surfaces clean and the Golden 2 Minutes Brushing Habit.
Make it fun: An oral care routine can get quite boring for children. To make things interesting, you can give them products that are specially designed to make brushing sessions are more fun. Flavoured toothpaste and multi-coloured toothbrushes in different shapes can entice children to brush every day. Battery-operated toothbrushes are also a great way to make brushing an interesting activity for children. Also ensure the use of fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits in their mouth comfortably.
Replace toothbrushes frequently: Toothbrushes can become breeding houses for many kinds of bacteria. It is thus vital to replace their toothbrushes every 3 to 4 months once. Children are more susceptible to infections than us adults and hence, it is essential to change the dental equipment at regular intervals. Furthermore, using toothbrushes with soft bristles is equally important to keep them at it too! (Agency)
New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) Gamocha, the traditional cloth and symbol of respect in Assam, has now become a symbol of health, safety and hygiene.More than one crore face masks have been made by various Self-Help Groups across the country. Rashmi from Nagaon, member of Runjhun SHG, has also prepared masks using Assam's traditional cloth."It shows relentless effort, positive energy and united resolve of SHGs to fight Covid-19 under DAY-NULM flagship scheme of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs," the ministry stated.At the core of this proud moment is a strong face of women entrepreneurs supported by the Mission. Their resilience is motivating others to multiply the efforts with more energy and determination. Shubhangi Chandrakant Dhaygude, President, Samrudhhi Area Level Federation (ALF) collects orders through phone and stitches masks at her home in Titwala, Maharashtra. She says that they have made 50,000 masks and 45 more women are involved in making masks with her.Meenu Jha, member of Savarni, an SHG in Kota, Rajasthan says that even she did not imagine that this small step can be so inspiring for others. These lines of Meenu Jha reiterate the fact that all of us have the unique capability of contributing in this fight even during lockdown.Updesh Andotra, member of Prayas Self Help Group in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district, feels proud while making the tricolour masks.--IANSaka/prs
Dear Patron, Please provide additional information to validate your profile and continue to participate in engagement activities and purchase medicine.