CANADA: Hand washing a vital weapon
The Sun Times
The H1N1 flu pandemic, which could intensify this fall, has medical
experts issuing more urgent warnings about the importance of proper
"It is the most basic and effective method of infection control," says
Tony Ayewash, a public health inspector at the Grey Bruce Health Unit.
Experts, like Ayewash, say proper handwashing is the best defence
against H1N1 influenza, stomach bugs, the common flu and colds. It also
prevents the transmission of E. coli, salmonella, C. Difficile and other
bacteria spread from person to person or object to person.
"Bacteria is spread to a person's hand, then they touch their face and
it continues the chain of infection," Ayewash said.
But what do experts consider to be "proper" handwashing techniques?
The Grey Bruce Health Unit is fast becoming a leading instructor, by
chance, of the "proper" way to wash hands to prevent the spread of
A video, created by Richard Thomas Communications for the local health
unit, has gone viral online. It is currently No. 1 among Google search
results for handwashing video.
As a result of the video's online success, health unit spokesman Drew
Ferguson said the local agency has sent out "thousands" of DVD copies
around the world -- from Alaska to China.
"It has marketed itself," Ferguson said.
He said the popularity of the DVD and its online video is a direct
result of public concern over the H1N1 flu pandemic. Restaurants,
nursing homes, schools, daycare centres, hospitals and jails are the
most popular recipients of the DVD, Ferguson said.