AS autumn arrives and bugs and germs start to thrive, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is encouraging everyone to ensure they keep their hands clean to stop germs from spreading.

Hands are one of the biggest spreaders of germs.  Hand washing with warm water and soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of germs and infections.  Studies show it lowers the transmission of diarrhoea and colds both at work and home as well as in NHS facilities.

The NHS is asking everyone to wash hands regularly during the day, using warm water and soap, to prevent spreading germs.  Hands should be washed after every trip to the toilet and before and after preparing food.

In addition those that are visiting NHS facilities should follow instructions on hand hygiene by either using soap and water or hand gels provided. This is to help reduce infections like MRSA and Clostridium difficile inhospitals. 

Anyone visiting patients should ensure hands are cleaned before entering or leaving a ward or clinical area.

To encourage staff, patients and visitors to wash their hands initiatives are in place across the trust’s hospitals, including movement activated recorded messages, played to remind people to use hand-gel as they pass by and eye-catching floor posters telling people to stop and wash their hands before entering ward areas.

Jane Smith, head of nursing at the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch, said: “We want everyone to stay fit and healthy this autumn and winter. By preventing germs from circulating we can all play our part in helping to reduce the spread of flu, stomach bugs and other winter illnesses as well as healthcare associated infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile. 

"By washing your hands with soap and water and making sure they’re dried properly you can significantly reduce the number of germs circulating and reduce your chances of getting ill.

“Reducing MRSA and Clostridium difficile in our hospitals is a top priority for the trust.  Just three inpatients were identified with MRSA bloodstream infections in 2011/12, our lowest figure to date.”