Washing Hands Washing Hands

Hygiene Myths and Misinformation

Protecting others from infectious diseases goes beyond proper hygiene compliance — it also means protecting the truth.

Gone viral — Misinformation can spread like an infectious disease

The circumstances of the corona crisis were often referred to as unprecedented. Never before has there been a modern pandemic of a comparable global scale, economic and cultural impact, or media exposure. As quickly as the virus itself, voices and opinions were circulated by social media platforms, messenger services, and news sources. This ‘viral’ nature of the pandemic is unique to corona and it is up to professionals such as those at HARTMANN to deliver evidence-based information.
Sterilium hands
The Dos and Don’ts of Hand Hygiene
WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, according to media during the Munich Security Conference in February.
"We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic."

In an age of fake news, it is important to separate fact from fiction.

Whether in everyday life, work environments, healthcare facilities, or in travel scenarios — a lot has changed, and the topic of hygiene has become central to all of these spaces of human activity and interaction. This increase in awareness also led to an increase of information — some helpful and some plain false.

Here you’ll find some Dos and Don’ts of hygiene that will get you through the summer and beyond!

Hand Hygiene Dos & Don’ts

"Hand disinfection and hand washing are not interchangeable."

Don’t: rely exclusively on only washing or only disinfecting your hands.

It is important to know when you should disinfect your hands and when it is sufficient to simply wash them thoroughly. In some cases, disinfection outside of clinical settings can be reasonable:
Pathogens of, for example, gastroenteritis, or multidrug-resistant bacteria are primarily transmitted via the hands. In all areas – including when entering the home or when travelling – this chain of infection can only be effectively inhibited by hand disinfection.

Besides droplet infection, our hands are the most frequent transmission path, which can only be interrupted by regular hand hygiene.
hand transmisison
In general, properly washing your hands is enough to get you through most daily scenarios safely. Still, there are moments that lend themselves more to regular disinfection, for instance, when you’re travelling and the opportunities to wash your hands are scarce.

When can you wash your hands?

  • Before eating
  • After using the toilet
  • When coming in from outside
  • After blowing your nose
wash hands

When can you disinfect your hands?

  • In case you can‘t wash your hands
  • After using public transport
  • After contact with frequently touched surfaces
  • After blowing your nose

Do: Lend others a helping hand.

Particularly in the digital age, it can be difficult to find reliable sources for safe information regarding hygiene. As human beings, we’re often more likely to trust the opinion of a loved one than that of an anonymous scientific study we found online. If you’re reading this, consider taking a moment to share the tips we’ve compiled here with someone you care for. You can find even more resources here.
heart hands

Surface Hygiene Dos & Don’ts:

take your time

"Take your time!"

Clinically relevant pathogens often persist on surfaces for weeks or even months. Hence, in healthcare settings, cleaning disinfection of surfaces is part of the multi-barrier system for preventing nosocomial infection. Proper risk assessment is the basis for applying disinfection procedures.

Do: take advantage of universally applicable, clinical-strength wipes on the go.

Today, many users assume that ready-to-use disinfection wipes fulfil a number of criteria. In addition to a reliable antimicrobial activity and cleaning ability, material compatibility, as well as time and cost efficiency are the decisive factors when selecting a product.
Single-use wipes with a low alcohol content meet these requirements: they not only offer user-friendly handling and a high level of occupational safety, but simplify the cleaning disinfection of surfaces particularly thanks to the following three properties:
Sterilium cloths

Barrier Hygiene Dos & Don’ts:

non medical masks

"Non-medical masks are a great way to stay safe, but only when used properly."

Masks have become quite commonplace recently as an integral part of hygiene concepts all over the world. While wearing a mask, gloves or other protective products can be crucial in many instances, it is important to know when this is unnecessary or even dangerous.

Don’t: wear a mask while exercising! 

People should NOT wear masks when exercising as masks may reduce the ability to breathe comfortable. Sweat can make the mask become wet more quickly which makes it difficult to breathe and promotes the growth of microorganisms.
no mask while exercising

The important preventative measure during exercise is to maintain physical distance of at least 1.5 meters from others.

Another misconception regarding protective accessories we’d like to clear up once and for all: wearing rubber gloves while out in public is NOT effective in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Regularly washing your hands offers more protection.

Do: treat your mask correctly.

There’s little use in protective barrier hygiene measures if they aren’t used properly.

Here are some simple steps you can follow while handling and wearing your mask:

  • Clean your hands before touching the mask
  • Inspect the mask for damage or dirt
  • Adjust the mask to your face without leaving gaps at the sides
  • Cover your mouth, nose, and chin
  • Avoid touching the mask
  • Clean your hands before removing the mask
  • Remove the mask by the straps behind the ears or head
  • Pull the mask away from your face
  • Store the mask in a clean, plastic, resealable bag if it is not dirty or wet and you plan to re-wear it
  • Remove the mask by the straps when taking it out of the bag
  • Wash the mask in soap or detergent, preferably with hot water, at least once a day
  • Clean your hands after removing your mask
At HARTMANN, we’re dedicated to keeping you safe. Whether that’s by producing disinfectant products like Sterillium or by telling you when washing your hands is fine enough. Going further, we will also provide a system to counter fake news: As part of the international CLEAN HOSPITALS initiative that we support, a set of action guidelines has been developed which scientists can use to analyze and categorize incorrect information. The tool is ultimately designed to encourage a systematic response to the fake news. A preliminary version of the action guidelines has already been developed, as has a data collection form. Both are now being tested and validated.
"As always, sharing is caring. "
Use disinfectants safely. Always read label and product information before use.

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