Remembering Ignaz Semmelweis – “father of infection control “for his discovery of the importance of clean hands, which today proves to be a very important weapon in combatting COVID – 19.

Ignaz Semmelweis , born in 1818, an Austrian – Hungarian physician and scientist is cited as a pioneer of antiseptic procedures. He came up with a very simple yet revolutionary idea which changed the public health scenario at that time. His idea very simply explained,  focuses on the importance of clean hands in preventing and ruling out infections. While working as the Director of the Maternity clinic at the Vienna General hospital in Australia, he propagated how puerperal fever also known as childbed fever could be reduced considerably or ruled out completely by washing hands properly and practising good hand hygiene.

Today, we are going back to this very simple yet highly effective practice which Ignaz Semmelweis centuries ago, discovered and insisted on adopting as a highly effective measure of fighting germs and viruses. Today with experts harping on the same practice as a very basic yet effective means of fighting the Coronavirus brings back memories of this great physician and scientist.

 Based on a similar reasoning that was popularised by Semmelweis, medical practitioners today in these difficult times of the rapidly spreading COVID – 19 ask us to follow simple hand washing procedures to prevent the virus from infecting us. Let us briefly discuss what the steps are: 

  1. We must wet our hands  with either cold or warm running water 
  2. We must apply soap well 
  3. We must lather our hands by rubbing them together and this must include both the front and the back of the hands, it must include nails, the wedges in between our fingers and we must lather right up to our elbows
  4. We must scrub our hands well without any short cuts . The scrubbing process should be for a minimum of 20 seconds. 
  5. We must rinse our   hands well removing all traces of soap.

In these infectious times the power of clean hands is tremendous and this awareness must be spread to everybody.

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