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Are you as clean as you could be? National Handwashing Day – 15th October

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National Handwashing Day falls on the 15th October 2016 this year, and is a global initiative to devise, design and create exciting and innovative ways to encourage the practice of handwashing all over the world.

Handwashing is a really affordable way of preventing disease and promoting infection control. Whilst handwashing might not always be possible with hot soapy water, there are products that can be used to make the handwashing process both simpler and more effective.

When did you last wash your hands?

From single use universal disposable wipes for cleaning hands on the go, to a handy bottle of alcohol sanitiser to keep in your handbag or pocket, handwashing has never been more convenient.

Our infographic below investigates handwashing in the UK, and explores how we should all try a little harder to wash our hands properly!

handwashing infographic for global handwashing day

Keep Yourself Healthy And Germ-Free Whilst You Sleep

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As more and more medical treatments are developed to prevent or cure infections, it is clear that the general public are becoming less attentive to cleanliness, particularly in the home or domestic environments.

Many tend to assume that their homes provide a safety net away from the infections and diseases from the outside world, when in fact, germs can make their way into clothes, furniture and flooring, having been brought in by those living there.

Beds can become a hotspot for germs through contact with the human body, and bed linen and mattresses can become very dirty, very quickly. There are a number of simple ways in which we can keep our beds clean and germ free. However a recent study from YouGov discovered that much of the British public are failing to keep their beds as clean as they should be.

What should you be doing and how often should you be doing it, to keep your bed clean and yourself healthy whilst you sleep?

 

Britons and their beds

When we sleep, our bodies can pass skin, sweat, saliva and oils into our bed sheets and through to our mattresses. In some cases, urine and faeces, or bacteria from wounds, can be added to the multitude of matter found in our beds.

Yet the recent research conducted by YouGov found that the majority of the British public are failing to keep on top of their bed’s cleanliness:

  • Just 33% wash their bed sheets once a week
  • 35% was their bed sheets every two weeks
  • 29% leave their bed sheets at least 2 weeks before washing them
  • 3% wash their beds sheets more than once a week

The majority of those who leave their bedding as long as possible before washing, were aged between 18-24 years old, whereas the majority of those who wash their bedding once a week were over the age of 60.

It’s crucial to understand how easily bed sheets can become dirty when you sleep, riddled with bacteria and germs. Not only that, but even insufficient cleaning can cause bacteria to linger and grow, disguised in what you think are fresh and clean bed sheets.

Here are a few ways in which to successfully clean your bed linen and mattresses, so you can be rest assured that you can enjoy a comfortable and healthy night’s sleep.

 

Washing bed sheets

Strip your bed of any pillowcases and bedsheets, as well as any pillow or mattress protectors you have. Wash in the washing machine on at least 60°C, preferably with a bleach-based washing detergent. The heat and bleach combination will help to kill off any bacteria.

Make sure you are at home for when the cycle has finished, to prevent the linen from sitting damp in the drum, where germs can begin to multiply again. If you are drying the linen in a tumble dryer, switch your setting to a high heat and ensure they are thoroughly dry before taking them out.

 

Top Tip: Allow your bed sheets to dry naturally with direct sunlight, as the UV rays can help to kill micro-organisms.

Try to wash your linen once a week, separately from your other laundry. Be sure to put your washing machine through an empty cycle every week too, using the same bleach-based detergent and a high heat to kill germs left in the drum.

Always wash your hands after handling dirty bedsheets, to make sure that the bacteria isn’t passed on to other parts of the home.

Even if your bed sheets are crease-free, iron them on a gentle setting to remove any germs or bacteria that have made it through the process so far.

 

Washing your mattress

Whilst washing your bed sheets, you can clean your mattress to really optimise the cleanliness of your bed. Begin by vacuuming the mattress on its top and sides, then flip over and repeat on the other side. Make sure to pay extra attention to any nooks and crannies on your mattress, where dust and bacteria like to gather.

Top Tip: Treat any stains on your mattress with a cleaner and follow on with a quick wipe of the entire mattress, using a surface care wipe.

Baking soda sprinkled across the surface of your mattress can help to optimise its cleanliness and leave it smelling fresh. If you can, allow 24 hours for the baking soda to work its magic; any available sunlight will help to sanitise the mattress further. Remove the baking soda using a hoover and finish by adding your mattress protector, bed sheets and pillowcases back to your bed.

Taking these steps to cleaning your bed can not only give you a peaceful night’s sleep, but can help towards a cleaner home entirely. By ensuring your home is as clean and hygienic as possible, you can keep your family as healthy as possible, and help to prevent the likelihood of infections and diseases being spread into the outside world.

Why We Catch Colds When the Seasons Change

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Why We Catch Colds When the Seasons Change
Each season presents different challenges that may affect some more than others, depending on our body’s unique patterns and tendencies. Autumn and spring usually bring allergies to the fore, whilst the cold winter weather can aggravate and break down your immune system. So with autumn and winter on the horizon, here are some of the best tips to avoid getting ill.

Washing your hands
Many people still hold the misconception that colds are transmitted when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
While this is sometimes true, we are a lot more likely to get infected from touching contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs and computer keyboards. These bugs, such as the Rhinovirus can last for over 24 hours, and in that time you are likely going to be touching your eyes or nose.
The best thing you can do is wash your hands regularly or have a small bottle of hand sanitiser on you at all times, which can be especially useful when you are on public transport.

Good Sleep
Research consistently shows that those who sleep less than 7 hours are three times more likely to come down with a cold than those who get over 8 or more hours. The same applies to the quality of sleep. The better the quality of sleep, the more chance you have of fighting off colds.
Ways of contributing to a good night sleep can include changing your bed sheets often, as they often contain lots of bacteria and sweat. A good night sleep will allow your body to direct more energy towards your immune system.

Get Vaccinated
To avoid diseases like influenza, vaccinations will boost your immune system against the diseases that doctors are predicting to be the most common throughout the year. Many people can be put off by vaccinations for a multitude of reasons, but they really help reduce the risk, especially for elderly people.

Diet
You can help your immune system these upcoming months with a healthy diet, rich in vitamins and minerals to provide your body with all it needs to fight infection.
• Vitamins- Great sources include many fruit and vegetables, including; oranges, bananas, apples, broccoli, spinach, beans.
• Fibre- found in whole grains such as oats and bran.
• Protein- through types of lean meat, fish, poultry and eggs. Try and avoid meats with a lot of fat.
• It is also worthwhile avoiding pre- packed meats, which are high in sugars, salt and calories, at the same time providing little nutrients.
• When you eat a sandwich, try using a paper towel or kitchen roll to avoid contact with your hand.

Gargle with Warm Saltwater
As well as drinking plenty of water throughout the day, this handy hack that will help reduce throat discomfort. This is because a dry throat can make it easier for bugs to get into your system.

Disinfection Touch Points – Where To Focus Cleaning Efforts In The Home

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Is someone sick in your house? Worried about germs and infections? Here is your guide on how to get your household squeaky clean quickly. We have identified the germ hot spots within your home to help you target the most affected areas. Anything touchable is considered a high risk touchpoint. You will find that the majority of the highest risk areas are touched regularly. This makes sense considering our hands are the biggest carriers of germs, which are easily transferred around. Take cleaning the floor for example. Although important, we don’t eat with our feet, so any germs on the feet are less of a threat than germs on the hands.

Kitchen

Sponges are a breeding ground for germs: When left damp bacteria can grow quickly. Whilst using the bacteria infested sponges to clean services or to wash pots and pans, we are effectively spreading germs around the home. Either ensure you wash your sponges weekly in the dishwasher or simply use disposable cleaning cloths.

Sinks, work surfaces and cutting boards. All surfaces that come into regular contact with contaminated bacteria from raw food should be cleaned rigorously.

Fridge, Freezer and cooker handles. As with all handles, they are regularly exposed to the hand which is a major carrier of germs and bacteria.

Rubbish bin. A notably obvious point. Ensure you clean down your bin at least once a week with anti-bacterial spray and wipes.

Misc

Dirty doorknobs and handles are some of the germiest places in the house. Our hands transfer the most germs. We can pick these germs up from the dog, your neighbour’s new born child or from the train home from work.

Light switches are similar to doorknobs. Constant contact with hands and fingers from everyone in the home makes it a germ hotspot.

Your hands! As discussed your hands are the biggest offenders in the transferring of germs. Keep them clean and regularly use anti-bacterial gel.

Bathrooms

Toilet Handles again are a massive hotspot and a direct cause of bacterial transfers to the hand.

Dispensers regularly come into contact with our hands, directly after using the toilet and the toilet handle making it a bacterial hotspot.

Toilet seats are crawling with bacteria. Clean once a week with anti-bacterial wipes to keep your toilet germ free.

Hand drying towels are crawling with moist bacteria. Ensure that you wash them at least once a week. Keep a rotation of towels for a fresh cycle.

So there you have it. The most bacteria ridden areas of your house. Now that you know the hotspots check out our range of antibacterial products to keep your house sparkling clean and germ free.

The Perfect Bed Bath Technique – A Guide

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If you need to help someone who is unable to get out of bed, a bed bath can be a really useful way to help them feel, clean and comfortable.
Being clean is essential for personal happiness and well-being and is even more important if this is something that someone cannot do for themselves. This may include an entire bath or just assistance washing select areas.

A good bed bath requires lots of movement, lifting, holding and tilting. It requires quite a lot of strength, patience and discretion.

Usually, a bed bath should be given around twice a week, however the genital area and face should be paid attention to on a daily basis. In order to make this easier a pack of bed bath care wipes could be kept nearby.

 

Preparing the Bed Bath

It is important when preparing a bed bath to ensure all windows are closed to allow for privacy. Being washed is a personal action which should be handled with care, discretion and consideration.

Allow the room to heat to a suitable room temperature. A cold or overly hot room will cause discomfort.

If you’re using water:
If you’re using water for the bed bath, prepare two bowls of warm water. One for washing and one for rinsing. Not too hot, nor too cold. You can test the water by dipping your hand into it to check to see if it is bearable.

If you’re using moist bed bath wipes:
Open the packet of wipes and pull out a wipe ready to use as soon as you are ready.

Lay thick bath towels under the person from head to toe. These help to absorb the water and will protect the bed and mattress from spillages. It’s also worth using a waterproof sheet under the cloth sheet.

Cover the person with a blanket or towel to keep them warm as you help them to undress.

 

During The Bed Bath

Always ensure whoever you are bathing is safe and secure in the bed should you need to step out of the room for any reason.

Initially focus on washing the eyes and face with either your wipe or your wet flannel. Then move onto the neck and ears.

Remember: Always wash from face to toes. It allows you to remember what you have covered and stops any infections or bacteria spreading from one area to another.

Remove a fresh wipe from the bed bath or change the bath water before getting to the genital area and always make them the last place to wash.

For women, wash the genital area from front to back.
For men, ensure you wash around the testicles as well as between the buttocks, rolling the person onto their side if necessary.

 

After The Bed Bath

Once dried, a nice touch is to add a soothing lotion or moisturiser onto the skin.
Remove all towels and set aside for washing. Drain the dirty water and throw away soiled wipes.

 

Additional Tips and Suggestions

As a nice surprise or an additional treat, why not occasionally add a sense of pampering into the wash. Lighting candles or incense whilst playing relaxing music can really change the atmosphere of the bed bath.

Allow the person you are washing to lie under a towel whilst you give the bed bath. This preserves both privacy and warmth.

If the person you are washing has some ability to move, then allowing them to wash easily accessible areas such as the face can provide dignity and a sense of independence

Hiring a carer for a few times could be a great way to learn how to properly give a bed bath as they can take you through the techniques if you are unsure.

The Hygiene Guide To Visiting Hospitals Or Care Homes

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Many hospital based viruses can be dangerous to visitors and patients alike. The best way to prevent the transferring of viruses and diseases is to responsibly follow hygiene rules. Hospital bugs can cause nasty effects such as diarrhoea and vomiting.

Infections on top of another medical condition can be fatal so it is always best to take a duty of care when visiting a hospital or a care home. Spreading infections whilst in hospital can also mean a longer stay for patients, which in turn blocks the bed that another patient may need.

Hand Hygiene

Good hand hygiene is essential when entering a hospital or a care home. Our hands, typically, are the biggest transferrers of germs and nasty bugs so ensuring they are properly cleaned will help to limit the spread of viruses.

Most hospitals have dry soap dispensers or alcohol hand rubs in multiple locations. Hands are the biggest transferrers of germs,so keeping them clean is essential to keeping hospitals and care homes safe from infections and germs. It is good practice to apply soap or alcohol hand gel once you are entering or leaving a patient’s’ room. Use this hand hygiene routine especially after using the toilet and before handling food. It recommended you use a quick hand wash before and after every visit.

Avoid using bars of soap as these encourage the transferring of germs.

You may ask the staff to wash their hands although as trained professionals – hand washing is a regular occurrence for hospital/care home staff.

General Visiting Advice

It is advised not to sit on the patient’s bed as this can spread germs directly to the patient. It is also advised not to put your feet on the bed of the patient. Use the chairs provided around the bed. It is vital not to touch the patient’s wounds or any other medical equipment such as drips or catheters. You must not use the patient’s toilet – ask the ward staff where the nearest toilets for visitors are.

You may bring your own toiletries with you for yourself or your loved one. Do not allow others to use these toiletries.

You can expect the room and hard surfaces of your loved one to be cleaned everyday with

Norovirus

In winter months the norovirus and the flu are commonly found on hospital wards or care homes. The norovirus can cause diarrhoea and vomiting and is highly infectious. Both viruses can be passed on easily and can be dangerous if a vulnerable person is infected. It is vital that anyone with any gastrointestinal symptoms, diarrhoea or vomiting should not visit the hospital to prevent the spread of potential viruses and to ensure the safety of patients.

Remember, when visiting a hospital or care home your first thought should be with the patients and what is going to be good for them. You can do this by ensuring that you follow the guidelines.

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