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Hand Hygiene, Infection Prevention and Food Safety Blog

5 Gross Hygiene Facts


We've come a long way in our hygiene habits since the middle ages. Back then most people believed bathing was unhealthy and since toilets didn't exist, chamber pots were just emptied out the nearest window. Thankfully the Romans were smart enough to give us soap, which can be traced back all the way to 2800 BC.
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Topics: Infection Prevention - Workplace and Public Areas

Should You Wash Your Hands After Handling Cash?

People worry about it, marry into it, kill for it and dedicate their whole lives to accumulate as much as possible. Also considered the root of all evil, we are of course talking about money. Humans have had a strong affinity for money and its history can be traced back to over 14, 000 years ago. There are a number of myths surrounding money with the most famous being that 4 in every 5 dollar bills in the US carries traces of cocaine. The myth has found to be true, not so much because of the extent of drug taking but how residues can be spread between notes by handling, ATM and counting machines. Although the myth is true it should be noted that the quantities of the drug ranges from parts per trillion to parts per billion.


Another enduring myth is that money can carry a diverse range of pathogens that can potentially make us ill. This was not always the case as our ancestors used the antimicrobial properties of money (silver, copper or gold) to disinfect water. The real problems occurred when paper currency was introduced in the 20th century. The first study of note was published in 1949 when Nisbet & Seoch highlighted the potential for money to be a vehicle for the transmission of clinically relevant pathogens. Since then there have been a number of articles and papers published on the microflora of money. In the main the “dirty money” stories have been fillers for slow news days or cater for germaphobes so it is timely to review what we currently know and to put the risk into prospective. There are actually three parts to the question the first being, are pathogens found on currency, can they survive and finally, can a potentially infective doses be transmitted.


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Topics: Infection Prevention - Workplace and Public Areas, Food Safety

Soap - The Magic Formula?

Hand washing is something that most of us do several times a day without a second thought. But if more people around the world adopted this simple practice, it could save 650,000 lives a year according to hygiene experts. So what makes soap and water such a magical formula?

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Topics: Hand Washing, Infection Prevention - Workplace and Public Areas

Hawthorne Effect: Hand Hygiene Rates Increase Three-Fold When Auditors Visible

Hand hygiene rates were found to be three times higher when auditors were visible to healthcare workers than when there were no auditors present, according to a study in a major Canadian acute care hospital.

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Topics: Infection Prevention in Healthcare

Fist Bump or Handshake: Which is Safer?

Viewers of the game show Deal or No Deal probably remember host Howie Mandel's habit of bumping fists with contestants instead of shaking their hands. It was later revealed that Mandel preferred the fist bump because of an intense fear of germs, which was part of his obsessive-compulsive disorder. With hand hygiene compliance becoming such a critical issue in the healthcare arena, experts are considering whether Mandel was ahead of his time.

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Odd Workplace Washroom Behavior

According to a new U.S. study, "A surprising number of Americans have used their workplace washrooms for more than they were intended."

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Break the Chain of Transmission Challenge!

Epidemiology is the science which studies the modes of transmission of pathogenic agents, the causes of diseases, their impact on health, as well as the economical and the sociological consequences of outbreaks in populations. 

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Topics: Transmission of disease, Epidemiology, Chain of Transmission, Quiz

What's your Flu I.Q.?

Flu season is in full swing and you've probably been bombarded with flu prevention messages for several months.

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3 Things on My Hand Hygiene Holiday Wish List

It's two weeks before the holidays. I am sitting with my four year old daughter and helping her write a letter to Santa at the same trying squeeze in the football game on TV. I am forced to reflect, as she looks at me with her curious eyes and says: “Dad what is your wish list for Santa…”

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Topics: Hand hygiene

Call Into Work Sick....Please!

Did you know, 90% of office workers come to work when sick. Even worse, they know their coughing and sneezing may be infecting others, but 45% said an ever-growing workload makes it necessary.

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Topics: Hand hygiene compliance, Hand Hygiene Education, Improving hand hygiene compliance, Absenteeism, Hand Hygiene Communication, Viruses, Infection Prevention - Workplace and Public Areas, Flu Prevention, Infection prevention, Flu, Viruses of Winter, Flu Transmission, CDC, Germs in the office, Hand Washing Behavior

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