Sunday, December 30, 2007
Kissing safer than shaking hands: study
Humans are more at risk of passing on an infection by shaking hands than engaging in kiss, experts have warned.
A group of hygiene experts from the United States and Britain have published the first detailed report on hand hygiene in the home and community, rather than in hospital and healthcare settings.
The findings published in the American Journal of Infection Control revealed that paying greater attention to good hand hygiene was important to avoid catching flu or tummy bugs, and gaining protection from organisms such as MRSA, salmonella or C difficile.
In the event of a flu pandemic, good hand hygiene would be the first line of defence during the early critical period before mass vaccination became available.
This new report follows on from a study indicating physical barriers, such as regular handwashing and wearing masks, gloves and gowns may be more effective than drugs in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses such as influenza and SARS.
Good hygiene at home prevented organisms spreading from one family member to another. By reducing the number of carriers in the community, the likelihood of infections being carried into health care facilities by new patients and visitors is reduced. Good hygiene at home also means fewer infections, which means fewer patients demanding antibiotics from the GP, and fewer resistant strains developing and circulating in the community.
Clothing and linens, baths, basin and toilet surfaces also played a part in spreading germs between family members in the home.