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The power to reduce infections is in our hands

07 March 2013

PHS Washrooms explains why hand washing is such a potent weapon in the war against the spread of viruses and infections

PHS Washrooms explains why hand washing is such a potent weapon in the war against the spread of viruses and infections

Seasonal outbreaks of infections and viruses regularly hit the headlines, so preventing and controlling their spread is of vital importance to companies and organisations.

In its 2007 World Health Report - A Safer Future: Global Public Health Security in the 21st Century, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that, since 1967, at least 39 new pathogens have been identified.These include Ebola haemorrhagic fever,Marburg fever and SARS.The report continued:" Other centuries-old threats, such as pandemic influenza, malaria and tuberculosis, continue to pose a threat to health through a combination of mutation, rising resistance to antimicrobial medicines and weak health systems." When WHO issued its first set of legally binding regulations aimed at preventing the international spread of disease back in 1951 the world was a very different place. New diseases were rare, if people were lucky enough to be able to travel long distances they went by ship, and news was relayed across continents by telegram.

It is an understatement to say that things have moved on since then! The rise in popularity of air travel - and its accessibility to more people thanks to low cost airlines - means we think nothing of travelling half way across the world now. Populations also continue to rise and rapid urbanisation means more people are becoming concentrated in certain geographical areas. And where there are people in close physical proximity, there are germs.

A touchy subject Our hi-tech, gadget-driven, 24-7 society has also changed our lives irrevocably.Many of us have become hopelessly devoted (or addicted) to our Kindles and iPads, and how on earth did we all survive before the invention of the smart phone? Although these gadgets have enriched our lives by letting us keep us in touch with friends, family and colleagues, and giving us access to all the latest news and information while on the move, UK research conducted to coincide with Global Hand Washing Day, which took place last October, revealed an issue that many of us may not want to think about.

Scientists from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London found that one in six mobile phones in Britain is contaminated with - apologies in advance - faecal matter. Experts said that the most likely reason for the potentially harmful bacteria being present on so many gadgets is people failing to wash their hands properly with soap after using the toilet.

So, whether you manage a business, a school, a hospital, a leisure centre, a shopping mall - or indeed any place where people regularly meet - maintaining healthy and hygienic washrooms for your staff, visitors, customers, pupils or patients is vital. As well as making sure that your cleaning regimes reach the highest standards, offering accessible and effective products that enable people to keep clean is essential.

Although it's not a hi-tech,'glamorous' intervention, hand washing is widely seen as the single most important thing we can do to reduce the spread of disease. PHS Washrooms has nearly 50 years experience in this sector and aims to provide the best quality products and services to ensure a safe and hygienic environment.

One of our most recent innovations is the introduction of SteriTouch. PHS has incorporated this patented antibacterial technology into a number of core products in its cubicle, baby changing and handcare ranges.Using the natural sterilising properties of silver it is permanently embedded into the product - be it a soap dispenser or a hand dryer - meaning it will never wear off, ensuring consistent protection for your staff, visitors or customers.