With the COVID-19 pandemic well into its second year, there has never been a more critical time to stock hand sanitiser. Homes and businesses all over the world require the constant need of hand sanitiser, not only to protect themselves but to protect their communities.
That being said, keeping safe during these trying times is not the only reason why sanitiser is necessary for our everyday lives. Especially for those living with incontinence. So let us talk about the importance of hand sanitiser and how patients with incontinence can use it to practice good hygiene.
Benefits Of Hand Sanitiser
First of all, hand sanitiser is the best way to practice hand hygiene as it eliminates bacteria that regular hand washing may miss. Research has also shown that with consistent use of hand sanitiser, those with respiratory issues are less likely to suffer from lung infections.
Hand sanitiser also offers a simpler hand hygiene solution for those with mobility issues, as it takes much less effort to use. For our elderly and immune-compromised friends, using a hand sanitiser keeps you safe by decreasing the rate of cold and flu infections.
There are plenty of ways that hand sanitiser can keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Soap vs. Hand Sanitiser
Deciding whether or not it is better to use hand sanitiser or washing your hands with soap has been a topical debate for years, especially with COVID-19 still affecting our lives.
From a young age, we are always taught to wash our hands to stay hygienic. But have we been doing it correctly? Medical experts tell us that the most effective way to keep clean and help prevent the spread of diseases, including coronavirus, is to frequently wash our hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.
Hand sanitiser, on the other hand, is an easy to access solution for not only cleaning our hands but for disinfecting surfaces. Effective at cleansing germs and bacteria, hand sanitiser is often the optimal choice for clinical spaces, such as hospitals, care homes, clinics and aged care facilities.
So, washing your hands can help you stay clean, while hand sanitiser can keep your hands and surfaces bacteria-free. The question isn’t really whether it’s better to use one method over the other but rather how we can use a combination of both to best stay hygienic.
How Do I Properly Wash My Hands?
When you wash your hands, it is vital you go through the following steps to ensure you properly keep your hands clean and protect yourself and your loved ones:
- Run your hands under cold or warm clean water
- Lather soap into your hands
- Rub your hands together, ensuring you cover your palms, finger, nails, the back of your hands and in between each finger
- Continue to scrub the whole surface of your hands for 20 seconds
- Return your hands to the water, rinsing off all soap
- Using a clean towel or air dryer, dry your hands
- Once dried, apply some hand sanitiser, rubbing it thoroughly through your hands
When Should I Wash My Hands?
It is essential to maintain good hand hygiene, especially if you have incontinence. The best times to practice hand hygiene are:
- After using the bathroom or changing incontinence products
- Before and after cleaning up after an incontinence accident
- After touching garbage
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before and after eating food
- If your hands are visibly dirty or greasy
- After touching an animal, animal food or treats, animal cages or animal waste
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
Why Do People With Incontinence Need Good Hand Hygiene?
Everyone needs to wash and sanitise their hands regularly. Although we must always maintain good hand hygiene after going to the bathroom, incontinence sufferers must remember how important it is to wash and sanitise their hands before and after bathroom use.
It is very easy to transfer bacteria through touch throughout the day, which could lead to dirtying the already infection-prone and sensitive areas of the body when washing, changing, or wiping.
If you deal with faecal incontinence, good hand hygiene can help prevent the accidental transfer of faecal matter to the urethra, which can lead to UTIs, kidney infections and bacterial infections.
Maintaining Good Skin Care With Incontinence
It is easy to maintain a good skincare routine while staying hygienic and sanitising, even for those with incontinence and their carers. The best treatment for skin problems is prevention.
It can be harmful to the skin when urine and fecal matter are not cleaned correctly, which may cause distress to those with incontinence.
If hygienic precautions are not taken, areas such as the genitals, the inner thigh, the anus and between the buttocks are at the highest risk of infection and skin breakdown.
Leakage from the bladder and bowel can cause a variety of issues, including itching, dry skin, inflammation, swelling, flaking, blisters and pain. If these leakages are not swiftly and correctly attended to, fungal infections and UTIs may appear as they are frequently found in damp, warm skin. This is, unfortunately, where these bacterias begin to grow.
To help you prevent skincare issues caused by incontinence, ensure you always maintain proper hand hygiene by regularly washing your hands using soap and applying sanitiser. It is also important to drink water and have a nutritious diet. If you need advice on how to deal with these skin issues, you can always talk to your doctor.
Finding The Right Sanitiser and Soap
Those with sensitive skin may find some soaps cause dry skin or irritation when washing your hands or body. Incontinence product suppliers have a variety of options for helping soothe your skin.
You can find cleansing products designed to hygienically clean and moisturise the skin of those with incontinence. These products may also have been pH-balanced to reduce skin irritation. You may also find other safe to use products that protect your skin while keeping you clean, including sanitisers, wipers, and urine cleaning sprays for furniture and clothing.
When living with incontinence, it is important to always ensure any accidents are cleaned up correctly and that for the safety of yourself and your loved ones, you maintain strong hand hygiene. Using hand sanitiser and washing your hands regularly will help you stop the spread of germs, soothe your skin and improve the quality of your life.