Hand Washing Prevents the Spread of Infections
December 3, 2007 § 11 Comments
What is the main cause of today’s most problematic infections in hospitals and the community: MRSA, VRE, C. difficile and Pneumonia? Poor hand-hygiene. Regular hand-washing is the best method to prevent the spread of infection. To stop germs from spreading you must wash your hands with soap and water, it is the best way to kill germs. MRSA is found in wounds, armpits, the nose and groin; VRE can be found in the urine, feces and blood; C. difficile germs can be found in feces and Pneumonia is often times airborne, infecting people through cough and sneezes. All of these germs can be spread through skin contact, usually by people contaminating surfaces with dirty hands.
I work in Infection Control/Epidemiological Investigations at a major hospital in New York City and these are some of the most dangerous germs prevalent in hospitals and the community at large. They are very difficult to fight and effect those who are recovering from surgery, other illnesses or those who have been on antibiotics for an long period of time.
There are so many times when discussing hand-washing to friends, family and even patients that the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (alayhi salatu wa sallim) prescription for obligatory ablution (wudu’) comes to mind. To my dissatisfaction, the Sunnat/Tradition of the Holy Prophet (alayhi salatu wa sallim) is generally not something we would discuss while in-servicing staff on proper hand-washing, but it is a topic I thought may be interesting in the blogosphere.
The Prophet Muhammad (alayhi salatu wa sallim) gave specific instructions to cleaning one’s self. In the ritual ablution, Muslims purify themselves. This generally occurs before sunrise and is renewed several times throughout the day when it is broken or violated. This means that hand-washing, a method of infection prevention, is occurring as a religious obligation on Muslims.
This is interesting to me because one of the main responsibilities of our department is to teach patients and visitors the best ways to prevent the spread of infection. This means we explain to patients, the patient’s family and visitors that they must wash their hands often while visiting the patients. We discuss the health of the patients being the priority and how washing with soap and warm water before entering and upon leaving a patient’s room creates a safer environment while they provide emotional support during a patients recovery. Staff and visitor’s hands must also be washed after touching body fluids, bandages or linens of the patients.
In conclusion, giving this public service announcement, also gives me the opportunity to say to Muslims, that renewing your wudu’ regularly also prevents the spread of infection! So mashaAllah to you! If you are regularly renewing your wudu’ you are keeping America safe from spreading infectious diseases like MRSA, VRE, C. difficile and Pneumonial, mashaAllah to you!
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