We’ve all heard the term ‘dirty money’, but were you aware that you could be handling it every day? According to research undertaken by experts at Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) faecal bacteria can be found on 14% of bank notes, 10% of credit cards, one-in-six mobile phones and 26% of hands in the UK. This research was published to coincide with the UN’s Global Handwashing Day – a day conceived to instil the importance of handwashing with soap to schoolchildren. Read more about the report on the BBC News site.
Handwashing with soap is the most effective way to prevent diarrheal and acute respiratory infections which cause the deaths of millions of children in developing countries every year. It is also essential practice for anybody serving or handling food and forms part of any basic food hygiene course such as Level 2 Food Hygiene.
How often you should wash your hands depends upon what you have been doing, but hands should always be washed before eating or feeding children and after using the toilet or changing a nappy. Also after handling pets, coughing, sneezing, blowing or scratching the nose, contact with blood or other bodily fluids, or contact with a potentially contaminated site. You should also wash your hands before and after handling raw food to avoid cross-contamination, or tending to someone who is sick.
How to wash your hands properly
- Wet hands, apply soap and rub palms together until soap is bubbly
- Rub each palm over the back of the other hand
- Rub between your fingers on each hand
- Rub backs of fingers (interlocked)
- Rub around each of your thumbs
- Rub both palms with fingertips, then rinse
- Dry your hands well on a clean, dry towel or paper towels
If you wash your hands in the correct manner it should take you as long as singing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. Remembering to do something as simple as this can help to prevent serious illness and infection.
Handwashing is vital if your job involves handling food, but there are also several other matters to consider to avoid cross-contamination. Verner Wheelock Associates are experts in food safety training and run a series of courses both off and online from basic to advanced level. In fact, we trained the RSPH Top Student 2011 for the Level 4 Award in Food Safety (Manufacturing).
Find out more about our current Food Safety, HACCP and specialist courses including course content, dates and rates.