Preschool facilities replacing soap and water with gels have put hundreds of children at risk
The practice of going down the “convenience” route has badly backfired in Australia. Soap and water hand washing has been largely pushed aside for the sanitiser alternative which has, at least in part, been instrumental in 389 cases of viral gastroenteritis in childcare centres in the state of Victoria, according to a recent report on the European Cleaning Journal website.
The stark figures tell their own story: a four-fold gastro increase has been reported so far this year, says the article. And one of the main culprits has, it seems, already been identified.
“And experts believe the use of hand sanitisers in place of soap and water could be partly to blame.”
The report turns to Dr Bruce Bolam, Victoria’s executive director for communicable disease, for advice regarding effective hand hygiene.
“A good old-fashioned scrub with soap and warm water is the best way to remove the gastro virus from our hands and prevent passing it on to infect others.”
Gels are useless with dirty hands
The point is further reinforced by a quote from the Professor of infectious diseases (Australian National University), Peter Collignon, who pointed out that there is simply “no point” in using hand sanitisers of any kind if hands are dirty in the first place.
All of which makes a very firm case for good old soap and water hand washing. It’s vital – and it works.
“Teaching young children about hand hygiene is crucial – that’s the claim being made by Australia’s Department of Health in the wake of surging cases of gastroenteritis.”
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