The week of October 16th to 20th is National Infection Control Week in Canada. Infection Prevention and Control policies and procedures keep residents, loved ones and team members healthy and safe year round. One of the most important parts of limiting the spread of infections is proper hand hygiene – and the apple experiment shows why.
The Apple Experiment: Seeing is Believing
At Cedarstone Enhanced Care‘s recent infection prevention and control meeting, team members shared and experiment. Using three apple slices, they showed how quickly dirty hands can spread bacteria.
Srivani thoroughly washed an apple, knife, and her hands with warm water and soap. Being careful not to touch the surface of the apple, she cut the apple and placed one piece in a container labelled “No Touch.”
A second apple wedge was cut and handled by team members Ellen and Michelle. They worked in their units all morning and were asked to touch all surfaces of the apple. This apple was placed in the “Dirty Hands” container.
Ellen and Michelle then washed their hands using soap and water, then touched a third apple wedge, again, making sure they touched all surfaces of the apple. This apple was placed in the “Clean Hands” container.
Why we wash our hands
The three containers were sealed, with gauze placed above the lid to allow air in. Air circulation helped to facilitate the growth of bacteria and mold. While the “No Touch” and “Clean Hands” apple slices became discoloured over time, only the “Dirty Hands” slice grew mold. Seeing is believing – and one of the best ways to prevent infections is to wash your hands and follow proper hand hygiene.