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Hand Care for Health Care Workers

Improved adherence to hand hygiene practices and multidisciplinary approaches to skin health may significantly impact patient outcomes and employee health.

Maintenance of intact, healthy skin reduces the risk of transmission of pathogenic organisms and the risk of occupationally related skin disease. Understanding the key components of an effective hand-care plan and implementing a therapeutic regime are fundamental components of any patient and employee safety program.

Hand washing and hand antisepsis

When hands are visibly dirty or contaminated or visibly soiled with blood or other body fluids, wash with water and either a non-antimicrobial soap or an antimicrobial soap.

1. When washing hands with soap and water:

- Wet hands first with water

- Apply the amount of product recommended by the manufacturer to hands

- Rub hands together vigorously for at least 15 seconds covering all surfaces of the hands and fingers.

2. Rinse hands thoroughly to remove all residual soap.

3. Dry hands with disposable single-use towels ensuring that the all skin and spaces between fingers are thoroughly dry without excessive friction

4. If hands are not visibly soiled, use an alcohol-based hand gel/foam for routinely decontaminating hands.


Frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products can compromise the skin barrier function and cause contact dermatitis.

Alcohol-based products may cause dryness and irritation of the skin.


Select hand hygiene products with low irritancy potential.  GoJo Soap and Purrell Sanitiser are recommended by us.

Perform hand hygiene before glove donning and after glove removal.

Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for appropriate use of all products.

Dermal hydration and moisturisation

Preventing dry skin and reducing the risk of dermal irritation and contact dermatitis should be the goal of every health-care employer and employee.

Skin moisturisers are used to help prevent skin from becoming dry and to restore dry skin to its normal condition. The HSE (2007) recommends that health-care workers be provided with products that will minimise the occurrence of irritant dermatitis associated with hand antisepsis or hand washing.  GoJo Hand Medic is recommended by us.

Appropriate glove usage

Some individuals may experience a dermal reaction in response to either the chemicals in the formulation of natural rubber or synthetic gloves or to the protein allergens in natural rubber latex gloves.


Repeated donning and removal of multiple pairs of gloves may cause a friction related irritation across the dorsum of the hands.

Prolonged wear may result in skin occlusion and either dryness or maceration.


Select gloves with low irritancy potential.

Perform hand hygiene before glove donning and after glove removal.

Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for appropriate use of all products.

In conclusion

Early intervention, good hand care and adherence to work place policy on glove use and infection control should reduce the incidence of occupational skin conditions.



The news that recently broke of a case of avian influenza on a poultry farm in Nafferton, East Yorkshire is disappointing news for British poultry farmers, but they and the British public should be reassured that this situation was identified early and that measures to contain the virus to the farm it was found on were promptly initiated by Defra.

Bird flu affects many species of birds, including chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. It can be passed between commercial, wild and pet birds. Birds do not always get sick from infection, so seemingly healthy birds may still pose a risk to people who come into contact with them.

Bird flu, or avian flu, is an infectious viral illness that spreads among birds. In rare cases it can affect humans.

There are many types of bird flu, most of which are harmless to humans. However, two types have caused serious concern in recent years. These are the H5N1 (since 1997) and H7N9 (since 2013) viruses. However, Defra have already indicated that the avian influenza virus type involved is NOT the highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza known as H5N1 and so it is likely to be a relatively less significant strain of the virus.

How bird flu spreads to humans

Bird flu is spread through direct contact with infected birds (dead or alive), an infected bird's droppings, or secretions from their eyes or respiratory tract.

Close and prolonged contact with an infected bird is generally required for the infection to spread to humans. For example:

1)  touching infected birds that are dead or alive

2)  inhaling or being in contact with dried dust from the droppings or bedding of infected birds

3)  inhaling or being in contact with droplets sneezed by infected birds

4)  culling, slaughtering, butchering or preparing infected poultry for cooking

Bird flu is not transmitted through cooked food. Poultry and eggs are safe to eat in areas that have experienced outbreaks of bird flu.

Signs and symptoms

Like other types of flu, bird flu symptoms often include a high temperature, aching muscles, headache and respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose. Most people with the condition rapidly develop more severe respiratory problems.

Diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal (tummy) pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums have also been reported as early symptoms in some people.

Within days, potentially fatal complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple organ failure may develop.

Having flu-like symptoms is extremely unlikely to mean you have bird flu, unless you have been in recent close contact with birds in an area where outbreaks have been reported.

Spectrum supplies several Approved Disinfectants for use in the control of Avian Influenza.

We recommend specific disinfectant dilution rates following the results of tests carried out using our disinfectants against various Avian Influenza strains. The dilution rates are also the same as the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Approved Poultry Order dilution rates for these disinfectants, which DEFRA recommend using.   Call us for more information about these disinfectants.

The Department of Health also recommends the maintenance of good basic hygiene, such as frequent hand washing followed by hand disinfection with an alcohol hand rub, for example Handsan Hand Sanitiser or Purrell Hand Santiser, to reduce the spread of the virus from your hands to your face, or to other people. The frequent cleaning of hard surfaces (e.g. worktops and door handles) to avoid possible human transmission is also recommended.




Dirty fingerprints on television, computer, laptop, tablet and phone screens are a bug bear for many, not only looking unpleasant but also harbouring bacteria which may become harmful, thus causing infections. Giving the screen a quick wipe over may seem like a simple task, however you could be causing real damage to your device.

Here are our dos and don’ts for screen cleaning:

DON’T spray cleaning fluid directly onto the screen. The materials used to manufacture modern screens (mostly fine and very thin materials) simply won’t withstand the effects of fluid being directly applied. The chances of the liquid completely evaporating are very slim, and there is no doubt that it will leave residual damage.

DON’T use cleaning fluids with an alcohol or ammonia base. Even though glass cleaner may seem the most logical solution, they are often ammonia based and can therefore strip anti-reflective coatings off screens, cause clouding or simply damage the screen. Alcohol based products work to the same effect, so we advise you to always check the content of the fluid.

DON’T use paper towels of cleaning rags used for general purposes. Once again, we re-iterate that modern screens are very delicate/sensitive and therefore abrasive materials like paper towels are not suitable, encouraging damage such as scratching. Similarly, any slight abrasive thing in a cleaning rag is likely to cause scratching.

DO prepare the screen. At a basic level, turn the device off, however we recommend unplugging it completely. In addition, wait until the screen is cool. A warm screen makes it more difficult to clean and can even cause damage.

DO dust the screen. Your aim should be to remove as much from the screen as you can without having to actually touch it. One way is to use a can of compressed air (spraying at least a foot or more away from the screen.) This dislodges the most electrostatically-adhered dust particles. More ideally, we recommend using a simple rubber dusting blub.

DO use a microfiber cloth. Ensuring it is dry and clean, microfiber cloths are the safest tool to use for cleaning screens. Light pressure and wide movements from either left to right or top to bottom provide the best results.

DO use a dampened cloth. For some extra cleaning power, we recommend dampening a microfiber cloth with distilled water, as tap water can leave mineral deposits and a film on the screen. The cloth should be damp when touched, but not so damp that any water can be wrung out of it.

DO use a dampened cloth with distilled water and white vinegar. If the distilled water alone isn’t working at tackling a particularly ardent cleaning task, then use a 50/50 mixture of distilled water and white vinegar. Use the same light pressure and wide movements discussed before, and make sure the microfiber cloth is suitably damp but not so any residue will be left behind.

And that’s all there is to it!


Recent studies have found that our younger generation are not being taught proper hand hygiene habits due to a lack of education in nurseries, pre- and primary schools.  A lack of time, cost and poor facilities means that youngsters are lacking ‘training’ in basic hygiene, encouraging the spread of germs and an increase in illnesses.

Understandably, this is something that must be rectified as illnesses reflect poor attendance and therefore poor education in schools. What’s more, it’s a way of tackling the problem of antibiotic resistance, as we are likely to reduce the amount of antibiotic prescribing through good health practices.

 It is thought that the four key problems preventing good hand hygiene in schools are:

  1. Time (45%)

  2. Cost (27%)

  3. Poor/lack of facilities (6% - facilities such as limited supplies of soap, unpleasant to use, water at wrong temperature etc.)

  4. Lack of staff (5%)

So, the ultimate question must then be how do we solve these problems?  Here at Spectrum, we believe that our Hygiene Management Scheme was made to tackle problems such as this!  Encompassing a vast array of areas, we feel that our scheme supports establishments in a number of ways through education, cost control, compliance and education.  Whether your organisation is an educational one or not, you may be experiencing problems similar to this and we are here to help.

Click here to see how the scheme could help your organisation.


Catch Up November 2015

We've been busy working hard for our customers on some great improvements that we thought you might be interested in.

This month, we welcomed a new client into our portfolio, Holly Bank Trust, based in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.  An amazing charity working to nurture, develop and enrich the lives of children, young people and adults who have complex physical, sensory, communication, learning and health needs.  One of their challenges was to remove wheel chair ingrained soiling from alto flooring.  A visit to the site and 10 minutes on my hands and knees with some Orange Fresh and a scourer and the floor came up like brand new! We are looking forward to working in partnership with this charity, supporting them with tools from our hygiene management support scheme, to help provide uniformity throughout this multi sited organisation. Visit our site to read more about Orange Fresh, an environmentally friendly product made with orange peel. 


With infection Control firmly on the agenda, our resident Mr Fixit, Mark Mullin, has been working with many doctors surgeries throughout the region, ensuring they are COSHH compliant and that their cleaning products and procedures are fit for purpose in preparation for inspections from the Care Quality Commission. Read a recent case study here.


Using our expertise and knowledge and always happy to add value, we have been proactive with our many food processing customers this month. E Coli is high on Environmental Health Officers agenda at the moment, with some EHO’s in the York area insisting on sanitisers having a 30 seconds contact time. Please read our Blog  and contact us if you are in any doubt about the product you currently use. We are happy to inform, demonstrate, improve and advise, without any obligation from you to buy. 


Finally, we are pleased to have contributed to a new look in the washrooms at the Innovation Centre at York Science Park. This vibrant business space combines specialist equipment, business support, office and administrative services, and is designed specifically to support and encourage the start-up and growth of knowledge-based companies of all sizes. By upgrading the soap and dispensers, toilet rolls and dispensers and hand towels and dispensers, a more hygienic provision is offered to the customer.  This affords a more modern and updated look in keeping with the rest of the building.  This dispenser upgrade was offered to our clients free of charge.  Click here to view our washroom services portfolio.


Like us on Facebook, connect with us on LinkedIn and follow us on Twitter and remember to keep us informed about what is going on in your business; we are always interested in your news!


Until next month, bye for now!