On 5 May, the World Health Organization celebrates World Hygiene Day mani to remember the importance of washing them, essential as a form of individual protection against infectious diseases and in the prevention of infections in care and treatment facilities.
Several studies have shown that washing your hands more than ten times a day can reduce the spread of viruses by up to 55%. And the whole world realized this when, during the Covid emergency, it was understood that hand washing was, and remains, one of the most important individual measures to defend against contagion. L’Oms recommends friction with common soap for at least 40-60 seconds. If this is not available, a hydroalcoholic solution can be used, rubbing the palms and backs of the hands, fingers and nails for at least 20-30 seconds.
Wash your hands to save lives
It’s amazing how a simple gesture, like hand washing, can change history. As happened, for example, with the discovery of Ignác Fülöp Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor who worked at the General Hospital of Vienna in the second half of the 19th century, who gave an important turning point to the hygiene standards envisaged in hospitals. Semmelweis noted that the percentage of pregnant women who died of puerperal fever was decidedly lower in the ward managed by midwives alone (3-4%) than in the one where doctors operated (11%). The only difference between the two wards consisted only in the fact that nurses and midwives did not assist in the dissections of the cadavers. So Semmelweis began a study that required doctors and students to wash their hands with calcium hypochlorite after performing anatomical dissections and always before assisting a woman in labor. After the trial period, the number of puerperal deaths decreased dramatically, approaching the percentage of the midwifery department.
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Despite the evidence Semmelweis uncovered, healthcare-associated infections are a global health problem. According to several studies by the World Health Organization, around 10% of patients admitted to acute healthcare facilities develop a healthcare-related infection with important repercussions in terms of hospitalization prolongation and increased mortality. WHO estimates that about half could be avoided by washing hands with soap and water or sanitizing them with a hydroalcoholic solution. In our country, according to research by the Hospital & Clinical Risk Managers of Rome, the prevalence of healthcare-related infections is around 6%, causing more victims than road accidents: over 7,800 deaths against 3,419 road victims. Heavy social costs to which are added also significant economic repercussions. According to a study conducted by the Faculty of Economics of the University of Tor Vergata in Rome, each single hospital infection has a cost of around 9,000-10,500 euros since it extends hospitalization by up to 10% of hospitalization days.
Artificial intelligence for hand cleaning
The Ministry of Health has quantified that approximately 30% of infections associated with healthcare practices can be prevented with careful hand hygiene. In particular, the Organization recommends hand hygiene to health workers and doctors in five moments to guarantee clean-care, clean health care.
In Israel they have developed Soapy Clean Machine, a patented device that uses Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) to manage a touch-free guided cleaning system including contactless body temperature detection at each wash that returns a report available in real time to the user and on the SoapyWisdom cloud platform.
Among the reference Italian structures where smart microstations have been installed is the neonatal intensive care unit of the Mangiagalli Clinic – Policlinico in Milan. “Correct and frequent hand washing – explains Fabio Mosca, director of the neonatal intensive care unit of the Milan Polyclinic – is the most effective measure to prevent the spread of the infection and the transmission of viruses and bacteria, even more important in a department such as neonatal intensive care, which cares for frail patients. Up to now there was no possibility of monitoring such an important procedure: as a doctor I am therefore happy to finally have a device available that fills this gap and which also gives the operator a real-time report that can also facilitate learning the procedure for correct hand washing”