Positive messages about handwashing are working. Data shows that 68% of us have changed the way we wash our hands because of COVID-19.1 Learn about the importance and history of handwashing by listening to Essity’s podcast episode: Power of Hands.
Handwashing: A moment in history
This story is always relevant, but it’s also steeped in history. In 1847, Ignaz Semmelweis, a young doctor in Vienna, found that maternal mortality rates were up to 18%. A major reason: the lack of hand hygiene. Doctors who had performed autopsies were delivering babies without properly washing their hands. Dr. Semmelweis asked medical workers to use cleaning solution, and maternal mortality rates plummeted.
Today, Dr. Semmelweis is considered “the father of hand hygiene.”
Meanwhile, access to proper facilities and the availability of soap dispensers are still the main reasons why people don’t wash their hands—even in Western countries. In rural and remote areas, the lack of places to wash hands is considered by doctors to be a big health risk.
From hospitals to hospitality
Handwashing is, of course, also especially critical in restaurants, where 60% of people have increased hygiene expectations during COVID-19. In Stockholm, Gastrologik restaurant has a minimalistic and clinical style—it almost looks like a hospital inside.
Jacob Holmstrom, owner of Gastrologik, says that staff in restaurants should wash their hands “between each task, to make sure hands are clean.” Keeping hands dry is also crucial, as moisture feeds bacteria.
Hand hygiene education: Use this virtual reality app
The message about hand hygiene is getting out. A 2020 survey revealed that 80% of healthcare workers would like to improve their hand hygiene compliance; 40% said they would like to receive better hand hygiene training.2
It’s best to embrace a positive mindset about hand hygiene: Washing your hands can help you and many other people—including customers, your family, and vulnerable and elderly people. Keep your hands clean. Learn how in this hand hygiene virtual app from Tork.