The importance of human hands cannot be under estimated. The human hand is the single most important body part in humans and it plays a major role in man’s daily activities. Our hands help us to do so many things like writing, holding, carrying, playing games, using a computer, texting on phones and a million other things.
Since our hands are used touch virtually anything, it has become the most important route of contacting harmful pathogens. Hence, the hands can be said to aid in the transmission of human diseases.
Thousands of people die every day around the world from infections acquired through contaminated hands most especially healthcare workers.
Transmission of health care-associated pathogens from one patient to another via health care worker hands requires five sequential steps
- Organisms are present on the patient’s skin, or have been shed onto inanimate objects immediately surrounding the patient
- Organisms are transferred to the hands of health care worker
- Organisms are capable of surviving for at least several minutes on health care worker hands
- Handwashing or hand antisepsis by the health care worker must be inadequate or entirely omitted, or the agent used for hand hygiene inappropriate
- The contaminated hand or hands of the caregiver must come into direct contact with another patient or with an inanimate object that will come into direct contact with the patient.
Nosocomial infections is defined as hospital acquired infections. Nosocomial infections or healthcare associated infections occur in patients under medical care. As these infections occur during hospital stay, they cause prolonged stay, disability, and economic burden. Frequently prevalent infections include central line-associated blood stream infection, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections and ventilator-associated pneumonia. Nosocomial pathogens include bacteria, viruses and fungal parasites. According to WHO estimates, approximately 15% of all hospitalized patients suffer from these infections. During hospitalization, patient is exposed to pathogens through different sources environment, healthcare staff, and other infected patients.
Common health care acquired infections are;
- Proteus mirabilis
- Klebsiella specie
- Clostridium deficile
- Stapylococcus aureus
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Escherichia coli
- legionella pneumophila
- By cleaning the hands with the use of alcoholic hand rub which is readily use when the hands are not visibly soiled or when soap and water are not available. Alcohol based hand rub contain active ingredient alcohol, which is bactericidal and disrupts the cell membrane of bacteria and can kill fungi and some viruses. The mechanism of action is by denaturing of proteins and cells destruction.
- By washing hands with soap and water especially when the hands is visibly soiled and dirty, but its not an exception. Hands should be washed every time you handle things likely to introduce germs into your hands. Hands should be properly washed after visiting the toilet, patient handling, animal handling, contact with the soil and before eating.