Handwashing Awareness

Handwashing is important because it helps eliminate germs that can cause disease.  In fact, good hand hygiene has been linked to a decrease in infectious disease incidence. 

Unfortunately, it’s too easy to forget the vital importance of handwashing due to the fact that antibiotics and vaccines have contributed so significantly to declining infectious disease-associated mortality over the past 100 years.   However, this trend should not be taken for granted, since mortality in the U.S. from infectious diseases actually rose between 1980 and 1992 due to an unexpected increase in emerging infectious diseases such as antibiotic resistant tuberculosis.

Over the last 20 years, focus on infectious diseases and prevention through home and community hygiene, including hand hygiene, has moved back up the health agenda.  Two factors have contributed to this new awareness. The prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacterial strains (including MRSA) and increased exposure to emerging viruses (including Norwalk virus and SARS) has had a major impact. 

Poor hygiene including a lack of handwashing, contributes to a substantial amount of the gastrointestinal, skin and respiratory tract infections that comprise a majority of infectious diseases.  Surprisingly, adherence to recommended hand hygiene practices is low (approximately 40%) even in well-resourced facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes.

Although frequent handwashing is clearly important, it can also lead to dry, cracked skin.  The surfactants in many handwashing soaps remove important lipids that help keep skin hydrated.  Viniferamine® Silicone Barrier can protect skin from losing vital lipids and help keep skin hydrated by giving it a “second skin” that provides a non-occlusive or “breathable” barrier.  Viniferamine® Silicone Barrier includes an advanced silicone complex that will remain effective after several washings. 

The nutrients in Viniferamine® Silicone Barrier (as well as Renewal Moisturizer® and other Viniferamine® products) including antioxidants, vitamins and amino acids also strengthen skin and help maintain skin hydration.  Shea butter in Viniferamine® Silicone Barrier improves the barrier function of skin and also helps keep moisture in to protect it from cracking.  Even in the event that skin becomes cracked due to frequent handwashing, Viniferamine® Silicone Barrier provides a shield that protects the skin from contamination, and includes ingredients that protect compromised skin from the risk of infection.

About the author: Nancy Ray, PhD is the Science Officer at McCord Research. Dr. Ray received her PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics and was a postdoctoral fellow at NIH, Harvard University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the University of Iowa. She also earned bachelor of science degrees in Chemistry and Microbiology.


  1. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2014; 35: S155-S178.
  2. Am J Infect Control 2007; 35: S27-S64.
  3. JAMA 1999; 281: 61-66.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been reviewed by the FDA. The decision to use these products should be discussed with a trusted healthcare provider. The authors and the publisher of this work have made every effort to use sources believed to be reliable to provide information that is accurate and compatible with the standards generally accepted at the time of publication. The authors and the publisher shall not be liable for any special, consequential, or exemplary damages resulting, in whole or in part, from the readers’ use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this article. The publisher has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

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