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Who needs hand sanitizer?
Hand hygiene is one of the most important measures that can be taken to prevent the spread of infection; whether it's practising good food hygiene in the home to prevent food poisoning or keeping things clean in your school or university where germs can and do spread quickly between students.
Of course, the most important place for good hand hygiene to be practiced is in a medical environment, such as a GP's surgery or a hospital ward. Because many patients will be older people already sick or suffering from a compromised immune system, it's more important than ever to keep their environments as germ-free as possible, to prevent them from becoming even sicker than they already are.
Care homes too need to ensure that hands are kept as clean as surfaces, as the older people who often reside in them often fall ill more easily and more seriously when they do come into contact with infections.
Dentists surgeries are another place it's important for hands to be clean - after all, you definitely don't want someone with dirty hands poking around inside your mouth! It's a place where it's easy to pass on germs, so a strict hand washing policy is imperative.
Effective hand washing limits the spread of germs
Because we use our hands for almost every task that we complete on a daily basis, they're liable to pick up a lot of germs. Places like the steering wheel and gear stick of your car are touched a lot but cleaned infrequently; likewise door handles, pens and even phones can be perfect places for germs and bacteria to thrive.
You can limit the spread of germs from these surfaces by cleaning regularly, but no matter how much you clean you'll never eliminate them completely from every surface you touch. Instead, making sure that your handwashing is effective and regular is a much better way to control the spread of nasty germs.
That means not only using the correct products, but also making sure you're washing your hands correctly, click here to see the NHS guide. This involves remembering to wash in between your fingers, your wrists, both sides of your hands and scrubbing under the nails.
Whether you work in an office or a care home, a shop or a hospital ward, by washing and using antibacterial soap or hand sanitiser regularly you can prevent illness from spreading.
Which product is right for me?
In most non-medical environments antibacterial and disinfectant soaps are perfectly adequate for practising good hand hygiene, as long as hands are washed after using the toilet and before handling any food.
When you're on the go, an alcohol based cleaner might be the best option. As well as efficiently killing any bacteria on your hands, it's a product which evaporates quickly and you don't need running water to use it, so it's handy to keep a small bottle of hand gel in your bag.
Rubbing alcohol based cleaners can be quite harsh on the hands and you might find yourself getting through a lot of moisturiser if that's your hand wash of choice, so a good alternative can be alcohol free hand sanitiser, which is less potent and will leave your hands in better condition.
If you're working in a hospital or medical environment then only medical grade products will be suitable. Bioguard Medical Hand Scrub is a high spec hand wash suitable for frequent hand washing, while SpiriGel Hand Rub is a great on-the-go product that's the choice of many medical professionals.