HAND HYGIENE FOR WHO?

For many decades hand hygiene has been a practice targeted at prevention of communicable diseases. Most people will ask, why practice hand hygiene, what are the consequences of dirty hands, nails etc. Well most of the pathogenic microorganisms we ingest are passed through contact by hands if not for already stale foods. Hand hygiene focusses on reduction but not total eradication of microbes. Hand hygiene basically ensures the microbial levels/quantities are deemed safe for consumption.

Hand hygiene can be performed through hand washing or by use of ABHR (Alcohol based hand rubs). Hand washing by water or soap and water involves the mechanical removal of microbes from our hands. Soap adds some value by lysing some of the potential pathogens. Disinfection may or may not be achieved by some soaps depending on the level of soil and the nature of microbes one is exposed to. For the soaps that claim anti-microbial efficacy, they mainly target very basic bacteria, fungi but hardly viruses. One would need a more efficient antimicrobial agent like povidone or chlorhexidine to be able to achieve intense antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria, fungi and viruses. This in many cases is not necessary especially when you are exposed to less pathogenic microbes.

The use of ABHR has a topic that has received various discussions some supporting while others against the use of such. The best recommendation for use of ABHR is when the hands are not visibly soiled. Remember we cannot see pathogens with our naked eyes. This doesn’t mean they do not exist! In fact, microbes are cosmopolitan and exist everywhere around us. Some may be opportunistic causing infections during low immunity or when exposed in great amounts more than the usual. As well we have microbes that are considered as normal flora and interact and have mutual benefits with their hosts – this is a wide discussion that can be expounded later. Thus we are advised that when our hands are visibly soiled, we are required to wash them with soap and water, dry the hands and then you can either continue with your activities or if more precaution is to be observed you can use ABHR to sanitize.

ABHR are considered as agents for hands antisepsis- Disinfection is a term more used with inanimate objects but while antisepsis is used when talking about disinfection of skin, always be sure not to confuse the two terms- when no visible soil is present on the hands. These ABHR’s are rinse free as most of them are based on Ethanol or Isopropyl which evaporates after hand rubbing. The levels are safe enough not to get anyone drunk. Consider this, apple juice contains alcohol, one can hardly get drunk by drinking 2 litres of apple juice, thus the amount of alcohol used on the hands is very little and cannot be absorbed into the human body.

ABHR vary in the type of alcohol used, emollients (moisturizing agents) and log reduction (microbes killing power). ABHR used at home, and sanitizers carried in the hand bags are usually having a low killing power considering the microbes one is exposed to are not very pathogenic. Those used in the hospitals are stronger and have a higher log reduction. When ABHR claim a 99.9% killing of germs we consider this a log 3 reduction, ABHR used in the hospitals should be able to meet at least a log 5 reduction which is 99.999% reduction. The 0.001% is very significant as far as killing microbes is concerned. This will determine what kind of ABHR one should select for use. Examples of log 3 ABHR in the Kenyan market include: Protex, Velvex and Dettol while log 5 reduction include: Anios gel, Alsoft V and KemRub.

Therefore, hand hygiene is for everyone! We can all control communicable diseases by practicing hand hygiene.

Buying A New TV?

Thinking of getting a new TV set or upgrading to something more up to date? Just like any device these days, the technology changes quite fast and it can be overwhelming when faced with the tech jargon that accompanies the device. Apart from price here are few factors that one should consider before committing to purchase a television in today’s  market.

Resolution and Screen Size

If you have been paying attention am sure you have come across abbreviations HD and 4k UHD when it comes to televisions over the past five or so years. This is all about the maximum  picture resolution that can be displayed on the screen. Bear with me as I get a little technical here, image resolution is measured in the number of vertical and horizontal points/elements called pixels that every screen uses to display images. Every screen has a maximum number of these pixels that determine the clarity of displayed images. True/Full HD screens have 1080pixels by 1920pixels and are suitable for larger screens from 40 inches to 50 inches as opposed to HD Ready screens with a maximum resolution of 720pixels by 1280pixels suitable for smaller screens of 32 inches or smaller. On to the newer kid on the block, 4K UHD resolution which simply put, means 4 times the resolution of Full HD (2160pixels by 3840 pixels) and is the best resolution for larger screens from 55 inches and above. With the larger resolution comes better contrast (difference between light and dark parts of an image) and brightness.

When it comes to selecting a screen size, the distance that the viewer will be sitting from the TV set comes into play. The larger the distance the bigger the screen needed so as to take maximum advantage of a higher resolution.

Media Format

The resolution of the screen can only be fully enjoyed if the media displayed on it matches   that of the screen. Meaning, a video of HD(1080p) resolution is best enjoyed on a Full HD TV screen. Videos of a higher resolution may look better on a lower resolution screen , say a 1080p video played on a 720p screen given that the file format is supported . A key note is, if the TV set supports your most commonly used media file formats. There is nothing as annoying as having media you want to enjoy only to be met with ‘File format not Supported’ or ‘Cannot play File format’ message on the screen. Once upon a time, as long as your device could play the ‘.avi’ file format  you were mostly good to go but now with the availability of HD content, the demand of file formats that don’t take too much space but deliver high quality has led to newer file formats. To avoid frustration after purchase, make sure the packaging of the TV displays the latest file format for playable media. At present this is the ‘HEVC’ format which supports highly compressed HD video.

Smart Vs ‘Dumb’

 

The current buzz word along with 4K UHD is Smart. Simply put, just like phones, the smart function allows extra functionality such as watching videos via apps provided on the TV’s platform(Netflix, Youtube and countless others). Smart and accessing the internet go hand in hand. You may not necessarily require to buy a smart TV to get the ‘smart’ experience however. There are streaming devices that can be bought, connected to the tv  via USB port or HDMI ports that can add the smart functionality and are available at pocket friendly prices. These devices include various Android TV boxes, Chromecast devices, Amazon’s Fire TV and many more(that’s a topic for another day) not forgetting that Game consoles do the same these days too.

Pricing

This goes without saying but quite often this is the determining factor when buying a new TV. Keep in mind that the more common brands with all the bells and whistles do cost an arm and a leg  but there are choices out there that make owning a TV that’s up to date and should last you a good while before you think of upgrading.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to your personal choice. Know what you want, why you want it and how you will use it. Feel free to carry a flash disk or external  drive with your most commonly used media content and ask to view it before you commit to a purchase, that way you have lesser chances of making a disappointing  purchase.

I hope this article will be of useful and feel free to give feedback on the topic or suggestions on what to tackle next that a Kenyan Buyer would like to know before making a purchase.