Hand hygiene is an important way to prevent the spread of infection.

Increased Awareness of the Germs We Carry

*  31 October 2022  *

Since the advent of COVID-19, we have all changed certain aspects of our daily lives. One of those changes is hand washing. 

Monina Hernandez is our Infection Control and Prevention Manager. Her role is to ensure effective infection prevention and control work practices to reduce the risk of transmission of infection. She works with staff and residents across Vasey RSL Care. 

Hand Hygiene Demonstration

Recently, Monina organised a short hand hygiene session for residents at each of our aged care homes to highlight the importance of hand hygiene for everyone.

Monina asked residents to raise their hands if they washed their hands that day and to keep them raised if they thought their hands were clean. Using a ‘glitterbug’ lotion as a non-toxic visualisation for real germs, Monina had rubbed some glitterbug onto the front cover of a magazine. She then asked residents to pass it around, look at the cover and see if it was clean. Most residents passed the magazine around but a few chose not to touch it. Most commented that they thought it was clean. 

After this, Monina used LED light to look at the hands of those who had touched the magazine and parts of their hands glowed where they had come in contact with the glitterbug. Similarly, she used LED light to look at the hands of those who did not touch the magazine – no glowing hands.

‘Fomites’ are items that are possible carriers of infection. The magazine was the fomite in this demonstration, but fomites can be hand rails, chairs, doors handles, utensils, clothing, taps and any other inanimate object that might carry germs. 

“I used this as a take-off point to discuss fomites, which is just about anything lying around in the environment, eg, the magazine,” says Monina.

This activity demonstrates how easy it is to pick up germs from any object in the environment.

“How can you ensure that you will not put those bugs into your mouth or into your nose?” Monina asked residents.

Someone answered, “Wash your hands!” 

Hand hygiene is one of the easiest ways for us all to help reduce the spread of infection – washing or sanitising frequently throughout the day is an important message for us all. 

How clean are our hands?

The items around us can be ‘fomites’ – germ carriers.

The glitterbug and LED light show how easy it is to pick up germs from a magazine.