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Hand hygiene: Find out why it is so important to wash your hands and how to do it correctly

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Xanit salud | Posted on 26-12-2019

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15th of October marks World Hand Hygiene Day, a UNICEF-led event born in 2008 with the aim of extending good hygiene practices across the globe, especially in developing countries. The United Nations Assembly also designated the same year as the International Year of Sanitation. Therefore, marking this day has an objective to ensure access to sanitation and safe drinking water throughout the world.

Parallel to World Handwashing Day designated by UNICEF for 15th of October, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared 5th of May as World Health Hand Hygiene Day.

In 2009, WHO launched a global campaign entitled “Save Lives: Wash Your Hands”. Since then, the campaign took place in consecutive years and together with WHO various health ministries, associations for the prevention of infections and private organisations for patient safety have been involved.

The fact that two dates are commemorating the importance of handwashing is an obvious sign of the need to convey this concept to the public. For that reason, in this blog, we would like to raise further awareness of the importance of such a simple gesture as washing hands with the help of Estibaliz Salazar, a nurse in charge of Infection Control and Prevention at Vithas Xanit International Hospital.

Why is hand hygiene so important? Because in our daily activities, we are often in contact with bacteria, viruses and parasites (especially housed in faeces, fluids such as nasal secretions, food or contaminated water) that must be eliminated so that they do not pose a risk to our health. The fact is that, although it does not seem so, proper hand hygiene is just as important as some vaccines or medical interventions, in terms of the prevention of certain diseases. Proper hand hygiene at the right times can even save a life. Besides, if we do it correctly, we will eliminate bacteria that can cause disease, avoid passing bacteria to other people and prevent the spread of diseases that can become serious.

It is important to wash our hands continuously, especially if the hands are dirty, before eating or cooking food and after going to the bathroom or cleaning a baby. If hand hygiene is poor, we can not only catch certain diseases but also pass them onto other people. Also, we can contaminate everything we touch, infecting ourselves and others.

Pathologies such as diarrhoeal diseases or some acute respiratory infections are especially susceptible to their transmission through contaminated hands. Washing hands after going to the toilet and before preparing food help to reduce diarrhoeal diseases by more than 40% and respiratory infections by almost 25%.

 

How should we wash our hands correctly?

The right technique for handwashing is one that reaches all parts of the hands:

 

*Wet hands under running water

*Apply soap (neutral or antiseptic)

* Rub both hands together, insisting on interdigital spaces, nails and wrists

* Rub the palm of one hand on the back of the other by interlocking fingers and vice versa

* Rub the back of the fingers of one hand with the palm of the opposite hand, clutching your fingers

* Hold the thumb with the opposite hand performing rotational movements and vice versa

* Rub the tip of the fingers of one hand on the palm of the other by rotating motion and vice versa, insisting on the soft padded part of the fingers and nails

* Rinse with plenty of running water, preferably cold

* Dry with paper towels

* Close the tap with the paper towel used for drying

 

To maximise the effectiveness of handwashing, some recommendations should be taken into account, starting with the needed time employed for handwashing. Use an adequate amount of soap and plenty of water, dry with disposable paper towels using the same to turn off the tap and avoid repeated exposure of hot water due to the risk of developing dermatitis (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2002).

With regard to the time we need to spend on handwashing, it will depend on what product we use for hand hygiene. For example, if done with soap and water the appropriate time would be 40-60 seconds, while if we do it with disinfectant gel or hydroalcoholic solution the appropriate time is approximately 20-30, until complete drying of the product.

 

Use of soap in handwashing

Washing hands only with water is not enough. To wash hands properly we should use soap, which favours the rubbing and removal of microorganisms.

It is advisable to use liquid soap since soap bars can become contaminated with bacteria, skin scales and hand grease As a result, solid soap bars become a repository of microorganisms and could lead to disease transmission rather than a reduction.

 

If you still choose to use soap bars, it would be advisable to rinse them beforehand for a few seconds under running water and then place them on surfaces that favour drying and avoid wet areas, which could promote the growth of bacteria.

Using soap bar is not dangerous, and can be very efficient if done properly, but liquid soap has greater advantages.

 

Sanitising gel in handwashing

Hand hygiene with disinfectant gel, also known as a hydroalcoholic solution due to its alcohol-based composition, is recommended when the hands do not have obvious dirt. It can only be a substitute for washing hands with soap and water in cases where the hands do not present visible dirt, as a mere means of disinfection.

It is not recommended to apply after hand hygiene with soap and water as it could damage the skin.

 

Skincare during hand washing

To take care of our skin during hand washing, we can follow some tips:

* Very hot water should be avoided

* Dry your hands well

* Use Ph soaps suitable for the skin, which are not too aggressive

* In case of using disinfectant gel, do not apply too much, with a little is enough, and rub your hands until the whole product has dried, thus avoiding the evaporation of the product on the skin that could damage it

* Avoid using disinfectant gel after washing with soap and water

* Use a moisturizer on hands

Although many people choose to use gloves to protect the skin, we must be aware that, although the use of gloves is intended to protect the skin of both staff and patients, their use is not a substitute for hand hygiene. Gloves can be damaged, have micropores and can cause contamination of hands during removal. The right thing will be to wear gloves when necessary and to carry out proper hand hygiene afterwards.

With these simple tips, hand washing will be effective and it will further help us to prevent and protect ourselves from pathologies. It is very important to pass such recommendations to the children as UNICEF considers children as the engine of change. That is why, further to promoting activities and campaigns similar to those of the NGOs, the most important thing we can do is to give children an example. Children will do what they see. We would like to see this message spread across the schools and families.

Treatment of coronary artery disease: bypass surgery and angioplasty

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in cardiology with heart | Posted on 17-12-2019

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Today in our blog we will talk about two of the most frequent types of surgeries in Spain, bypass surgery and angioplasty, which serve to treat coronary artery disease, the most common type of heart disease. For more information on these surgical interventions, we spoke with the Head of our Heart Department, Dr Gómez Doblas. In our hospital, we have a long experience in performing these interventions, with more than 500 aortocoronary bypass surgeries and more than 3,000 angioplasty performed.

 

Coronary artery disease, what exactly is it?

People with coronary artery disease form cholesterol and fat deposits, called plaques (lesions), in the coronary arteries. This process is called atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and is progressive. If material continues to be deposited in the plaque, the coronary arteries may become partially or completely obstructed, and, therefore, the heart may not receive enough oxygen carried by the blood. If this happens, it can lead to angina pectoris or even myocardial infarction.

The good news is that, at present, this pathology can be treated through aortocoronary bypass or angioplasty, two of the most common surgical interventions in Spain.

 

Aortocoronary bypass and angioplasty

Aortocoronary bypass diverts blood flow by implanting grafts between the aorta and the distal part of the coronary arteries in order to save coronary lesions.

Angioplasty also restores blood flow by widening the artery with a catheter that grafts into the coronary veins and carries a balloon and a stent device that unfolds over the lesion that obstructs the artery, which allows restoring the passage of blood through the previously obstructed artery.

Every year around 5,000 aortocoronary bypass surgeries are performed in our country and more than

70,000 angioplasties. The progressive development of percutaneous or non-surgical techniques causes the number of the aortocoronary bypass to decrease and increase that of

angioplasty.

 

Care to take into account after the surgery

Patients intervened by coronary bypass technique may present over the subsequent years progression of atherosclerotic disease in the native arteries and the appearance of vascular disease in the grafts; to prevent this situation, the most important thing after a cardiac bypass surgery is to have a strict control of cardiovascular risk factors (no smoking, taking care of cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes…).

Regarding patients undergoing angioplasty, the recommendations to take into account are: follow heart-healthy nutrition based on the Mediterranean diet, exercise, do not smoke and carry out strict control of risk factors. It is also very important to maintain the use of anticoagulation such as aspirin and clopidogrel for at least 6 months or a year.

Depression, are we aware of it?

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Xanit salud | Posted on 17-12-2019

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This week marked the European Day of Depression, a pathology that currently affects a high percentage of the world population and that many specialists even qualify as the epidemic of the 21st century. To better understand depression, today we spoke with Guiomar Travesedo, a psychologist at Vithas Xanit International Hospital.

 

Most people with depression are not aware of it or do not know how to recognise the symptoms. What should we be attentive to?

Further to noticing the typical symptoms of depression, such as sadness, apathy, difficulty in feeling pleasure or joy for things or situations that we have previously enjoyed, there are more indicators that we should be attentive to. People who suffer from depression frequently experience that the feeling of the general malaise is significantly interfering with their lives, work, family or sentimental relationships.

 

Can it affect other aspects of our health?

Depression affects all areas of a person’s life, so it is very important to treat it as, in its most severe form, it can even end up in suicide.

 

And how can we treat depression?

Mild depression can and should (in my opinion) be treated with psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioural therapy is the most endorsed by specialists, which consists in treating and intervening the patient both at the mental and behavioural level. If we talk about a long-term depression or a more severe form of it, further to therapy we recommend adding the medication also.

 

Specialists indicate that many people are suffering from depression and are not aware of it, is this the case?

It may be that a person has depression and does not know it or does not want to admit it. Still, in most cases, if we talk about major depression, the signs of deterioration are significant enough for the doctor to see them and diagnose depression.

 

There is a lot of talks now about childhood depression… is it true that there are more and more children with depression? Why is it attributed to?

Indeed, there are increasing cases of children with depression, WHO estimates that 2% of children aged 6-12 suffer from depression and in the case of pre-adolescents aged 12-14 it ranges from 4 to 6 per cent.

Depressive symptoms in childhood are similar to those in adults with the exception that they have more common irritability than sadness. Still, it is often difficult to diagnose it because symptoms are confused with the usual emotional changes in a child’s development.

The causes can be very diverse. One of the most booming among psychologists is the excessive load of activities and stimulation that children receive from a very young age (school, extracurricular classes…) and the type of parents education that we see most often in such cases, the so-called overprotector-permissive.