Disease prevention in handwashing with soap

Posted on February 18, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Available at EcoSoap Kenya, to place your order call 0724 439 700

Handwashing can prevent diarrhoeal disease which can include shigellosis, typhoid and cholera, acute respiratory infections and eye infections.

In a research published by British Medical Journal on November 2007, physical barriers, such as regular handwashing and wearing masks, gloves and gowns, may be more effective than drugs to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses such as influenza and SARS.

In the case of such respiratory diseases, washing your hands is especially important before touching your eyes, nose or mouth. The finding was published as Britain announced it was doubling its stockpile of antiviral medicines in preparation for any future flu pandemic.

The researchers found that simple, low-cost physical measures should be given higher priority in national pandemic contingency plans. Other evidence suggests that the use of vaccines and antiviral drugs will be insufficient to interrupt the spread of influenza says the report.

Handwashing and wearing masks, gloves and gowns were effective individually in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, and were even more effective when combined.

However, further trials needed to evaluate the best combinations. Another study, published in the Cochrane Library journal on 2007, finds handwashing with just soap and water to be a simple and effective way to curb the spread of respiratory viruses, from everyday cold viruses to deadly pandemic strains.

  • Diarrheal disease. A review of more than 30 studies found that handwashing with soap cuts the incidence of diarrhea by nearly half. Diarrheal diseases are often described as water-related, as the pathogens come from fecal matter and make people ill when they enter the mouth via hands that have been contact with feces, contaminated drinking water, unwashed raw food, unwashed utensils or smears on clothes.
  • Acute respiratory infection. Handwashing reduces respiratory infections by two ways: by removing respiratory pathogens that are found on hands and surfaces and by removing other pathogens (in particular, entreric viruses) that have been found to cause not only diarrhea, but also respiratory symptoms.
  • Intestinal worm, skin infections, and eye infections. Hand washing with soap also reduces the incidence of skin diseases; eye infections like trachoma and intestinal worms, especially ascariasis and trichuriasis.
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