Combating the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority worldwide and global restrictions currently dictate our everyday life. Border closures, entry bans, curfews, as well as closures of schools, kindergartens, shops, restaurants, and public parks have contributed to public life coming to a standstill while the world waits for a solution. We are doing everything we can to slow down the infection rate and save lives.
The day will come when the protective measures will be relaxed again, when we will meet more people, our families, our colleagues at work and our friends. Shopping centres and restaurants will open again and we will be able to go outside and do the things we love. But the danger of contracting the virus, or any other infection, during this time remains high. So how do we deal with it? How can we protect against contracting an infection?
100% protection through vaccination?
Research is currently underway to develop a vaccination against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, however it is likely that a vaccine will not be widely available before 2021.
In a vaccination, the body is injected with either pathogens that have already been killed or rendered harmless. Following this injection, the body develops antibodies against the pathogen. In the event that the same virus enters the body again, the active cells produce corresponding antibodies faster than at first contact.
But viruses can mutate and adapt. Viruses are constantly changing and looking for new ways to infect a host cell. In the case of influenza, new protective vaccines must be regularly developed to protect against each seasonal wave of influenza as the virus mutates so regularly. Despite aggressive vaccination campaigns, over 180,000 people in Germany alone fall ill with influenza. Prevailing vaccination gaps are one reason, but are not solely responsible for the spread of the virus.
“There is no such thing as 100% protection through vaccination. For the greatest possible protection against infection with the new coronavirus, the same preventive measures as for the annual wave of influenza should be observed. Minimizing the chance of droplet infection and consistent hand disinfection.”Andreas Glöckner, M.D., Medical Director
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Robert Koch Institute in Germany recommend thorough and regular hand hygiene to strengthen infection protection as approximately 80 percent of all infections are transmitted by the hands. This fact underlines the importance of a proper hand hygiene infrastructure. On an average weekday we spend more than 8 hours outside our homes. We go to the work, grocery shopping, or to the hairdresser, we meet with friends in the evening, go to the cinema or have dinner with our partner. Frequently touched objects like door handles, rails, or chair backs can be a potential transmission source of harmful pathogens.
When this time of “freedom” comes again, we must be given opportunities to wash or sanitize our hands, particularly in high traffic areas and places where many people come together where germs can be transmitted quickly. Easily accessible sanitizer dispensers can offer effective protection against viruses and bacteria.
Hand hygiene stations in entrance areas
Based on a recent WHO recommendation, hand hygiene stations should be set up in front of the entrance to every public or private commercial building, in all areas of transport, including airports, railway stations and also seaports, and in educational institutions. While awareness of the importance of these hand hygiene measures has grown since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions are finding it difficult to meet the basic requirements for hand hygiene.
Optimum infection protection goes beyond hand hygiene disinfection stations. Regular hand washing is the basis for infection protection and adequate liquid soap and readily available paper towels are also essential components to a complete hand hygiene experience. Studies show that wet hands have a considerable germ load, highlighting the importance completing every hand washing event by thoroughly drying the hands.
Touchless devices in particular are growing in popularity. This is because sensor-controlled operation is both more hygienic and more user-friendly. OPHARDT Hygiene offers a variety of hygiene stations which are particularly suitable for highly frequented entrance areas, as well as sanitizer dispensers suited to open-concept offices, reception areas, waiting rooms, and more. By providing access to hand hygiene opportunities in every area of public life, we can actively reduce the potential for new infections.
Advantages at a glance:
- Vandalism proof designs, especially suitable for highly frequented areas
- Absolute flexibility through freely fillable systems, for any kind of disinfectant, soap and paper towels
- Intelligent solutions to monitor of fill-level of products
- Needs-oriented design for all areas of application