hand washing in aircrafts

  • anukp
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hand washing in aircrafts

hi all was wondering if you guys have any data regarding hand washing in aircrafts especially long haul
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  • F H Mughal
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Re: hand washing in aircrafts

Handwashing in Aircrafts
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In aircrafts, the main issue that comes before handwashing is the water quality in the aircrafts.

According to a WHO publication (Guide to Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation, Third Edition, Module 1: Water, Module 2: Cleaning and Disinfection of Facilities, WHO, Geneva 2009), random testing of water on aircraft by Health Canada in June 2006 found that 15.1 per cent of the aircraft tested positive for total coliform bacteria and 1.2 per cent tested positive for E. coli. Most contamination was found in water from lavatory taps or faucets, indicating the possibility of localized contamination rather than general water contamination.

During a USEPA study conducted in 2004, 327 passenger aircraft were randomly tested at 12 airports that served both domestic and international routes. The USEPA analysed the drinking water samples from galleys and lavatories for total coliforms (in the case of a positive result for total coliforms, the sample was tested for E. coli/faecal coliforms), total residual chlorine, heterotrophic plate count, and total nitrate and nitrite. In regard to the presence of microorganisms, 15 per cent (49/327) of the aircraft tested positive for total coliforms in one or more sampling sites, and 4.1 per cent (2/49) of these total coliform–positive aircraft also tested positive for E. coli/faecal coliforms. Twenty-one per cent of the aircraft tested had non-detectable chlorine residual.

According to a paper: Bacteria that Travel: The Quality of Aircraft Water, by Harald Handschuh, Jean O’ Dwyer2 and Catherine C. Adley (Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 13938-13955; doi:10.3390/ijerph121113938, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health ISSN 1660-4601, www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph ), long-haul flights were found to be significantly poorer in terms of microbial quality than short haul flights. Focusing on the aircraft (long- and short-haul), a significant difference in relation to the microbiological quality was discovered, with long-haul aircraft displaying a poorer microbial quality. The authors suggest that long-haul aircraft require more stringent upkeep in terms of water quality, inclusive of the intermediate water supplier at any given location, in order to safeguard public health.

Extract from a video says: Airline water is tainted with Salmonella and even insect eggs. USEPA found that 1 in every 8 planes failed the agency’s standards, and that 15 per cent of tested aircraft water systems contain potentially harmful bacteria.

The question arises, whether it is a wise strategy to do handwashing with contaminated water?

F H Mughal

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Re: hand washing in aircrafts

On handwashing itself, the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) gives following guidelines:

What is the right way to wash your hands?

Wet your hands with clean running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands,[/li]
between your fingers, and under your nails.
Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the "Happy Birthday" song from beginning to end twice.
Rinse your hands well under running water.
Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry.

What should you do if you don’t have soap and clean, running water?

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty.

How should you use hand sanitizer?

Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
Rub your hands together.
Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.

When should you wash your hands?

• Before, during, and after preparing food
• Before eating food
• Before and after caring for someone who is sick
• Before and after treating a cut or wound
• After using the toilet
• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
• After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
• After handling pet food or pet treats
• After touching garbage


F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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