NORCROSS, Ga., Aug. 12 With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcing the potential for an unusual number of serious illnesses in school-age children (ages 5-24) and pregnant women from the H1N1 virus (swine flu)(i,ii), washing hands with soap that can kill the virus immediately and continue to kill it for up to six hours could mean the difference between getting swine flu or avoiding it, especially before a vaccine is expected to be available in mid-October.
As with other flu viruses, the swine flu is spread via contact with infected droplets or surfaces followed by contact with a person's eyes, nose or mouth.(iii) Frequent hand washing with soap or the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (when no sink is available) will kill or remove the virus. However, the challenge is washing consistently after touching any surface such as a door handle, chair or desk or any person that could have been exposed to the virus. Cleansers that contain 4 percent chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) bond to the skin and continue to actively kill germs for up to six hours.(iv) That's almost an entire school or work day.
CHG offers better protection between washings, even if you are able to wash your hands frequently. Two over-the-counter brands that contain 4 percent CHG are Hibiclens(R) skin cleanser and Hibistat(R) individual wipes. Hibiclens and Hibistat have specifically been tested against a strain of the swine flu virus similar to the one that is currently causing illness in the community.(v) Since these strains are of the same virus family, these products will effectively kill both types of flu virus for up to six hours.
For moms, the swine flu is a major concern since both children and pregnant women are part of the high-risk groups. CDC says pregnant women have higher rates of hospitalization and a greater risk of death compared to the general population and recommends that antiviral treatment be started within 48 hours after symptoms begin.(vi)
"I'm very concerned," said Jeanne Fuller, mother of Adam, 5, and Sam, 3, and 30 weeks pregnant with her third child. "I admit when I heard that pregnant women were at higher risk, especially late in pregnancy, I panicked. I ran to the store to get antibacterial everything. That's when I learned about Hibiclens and have been using it ever since. My oldest son starts kindergarten this year and who knows what kind of new bugs he will encounter. If he gets sick, I will be the one caring for him and I have to protect the baby, too," she said.
To help moms like Fuller, physicians are recommending long-lasting, germ-killing products, such as Hibiclens.
Doug Smith, M.D., an emergency department (ED) physician in Miami, Fla., knows what it's like to see a bad flu season take its toll. "I tell all of my patients to be sure to wash their hands - they just can't do it enough. And for those who might be at high-risk or need longer protection than just a few minutes, I recommend using washes with 4 percent CHG since it kills germs for hours. That's what we have been using in our facility for years and we continue to use it to protect us," said Smith.
Molnlycke Health Care provides the following tips for staying healthy this swine flu season.
About Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC
Molnlycke Health Care US, LLC, consists of two divisions - Surgical and Wound Care. Focusing on prevention of surgically-related infections for both patients and healthcare workers, the Surgical Division (formerly Regent Medical Americas, LLC) encompasses the world's leading manufacturer and supplier of powder-free surgical gloves (Biogel(R) surgical gloves); the number one supplier (by value) of skin cleanser (Hibiclens(R) and Hibistat(R) antiseptics); and BARRIER(R) protective clothing. A leader in trauma and pain management, the Wound Care Division's market dynamics are driven by an aging population, higher incidence of pressure ulcers and increased home treatment.
i) Steenhuysen J, Fox M. (2009, July 17). www.reuters.com. "CDC fears more swine flu cases in fall." Retrieved August 3, 2009, from http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE56G5DD20090717
ii) Stobbe, M. (2009, July 26). www.usatoday.com. "Swine flu could hit up to 40% in U.S. this year and next without vaccine." Retrieved August 3, 2009, from http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-07-26-swineflu27_N.htm
iii) Erin M. Sorrell, Hongquan Wan, Yonas Araya, Haichen Song, and Daniel R. Perez, "Minimal molecular constraints for respiratory droplet transmission of an avian-human H9N2 influenza A virus." http://www.pnas.org/content/106/18/7565. Last accessed July 10, 2009.
iv) Regent Medical Study #030917-150.
v) Independent lab test time-kill for Swine Flu virus (H1N1 Virus strain A/Swine/Iowa/15/30).
vi) Dooren, JC. (2009, July 29). www.wsj.com. "CDC Says Pregnant Women With Flu Symptoms Should Receive Anti-Viral Drugs." Retrieved August 4, 2009, from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124885469827889531.html.
vii) "Novel H1N1 Flu Situation Update." http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1 flu/update.htm. Last accessed July 10, 2009
-- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer (if a sink is not available).(vii) -- Wash hands after touching anything that might not have been washed with soap or a disinfectant recently. -- Wash hands with cleansers that contain 4 percent chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) in order to kill the virus for a long period of time. -- Keep hands away from eyes, nose and mouth. -- Cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than hand to reduce the risk of transfer. -- Avoid crowds (or at least try to keep your distance from others). -- Get plenty of sleep and exercise. -- Stay home if you are experiencing flu symptoms (fatigue, fever, nausea, etc). -- Isolate individuals that are ill or have flu like symptoms, especially in a family. -- Use the hottest water possible in your washing machine, especially for sports and school uniforms, and dry everything completely.
SOURCE Molnlycke Health Care