As the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games approach, it is important for athletes to learn how to wash their hands correctly. The English Institute of Sport (EIS) have recognised this, recommending that British athletes use the SureWash system to learn the WHO hand hygiene technique. By providing hand hygiene training for Tokyo 2020, this will help ensure that respiratory and gastro-intestinal illnesses are kept at bay.

According to Craig Ranson, director of athlete health at the EIS, “[Hand washing technique] is hugely important given that respiratory and gastro-intestinal illnesses are two of the biggest health threats to athlete availability for preparation and performance.” However,  despite humans washing their hands multiple time per day, it is surprising to learn that the majority of people do not know how to wash their hands correctly. Dr James Hull consultant respiratory physician at the Royal Brompton hospital states: “It sounds relatively easy to say it but essentially most people don’t know how to wash their hands properly.”

Data has identified that as many as 5,800 days of training has been lost to respiratory illness within just two years. With these figures in mind, respiratory illness can have a serious effect on athletes performance. As a result, the EIS treat it with as much importance as any other sporting injury as it is known as the primary cause of lost training days among elite athletes.

SureWash:

SureWash is a hand hygiene training system that teaches the WHO technique to help achieve compliance, reduce the risk of infections and improve patient outcomes. It has a live video camera and uses patented gesture recognition technology to evaluate users hand washing technique. All data is then stored in the cloud for administrators to track and assess users learning progress overtime. Hand hygiene training can be provided through the SureWah GO or the SureWash ELITE system. The SureWash APP also provides a platform for users to practice their hand hygiene technique.

Access to full paper in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/oct/15/faster-higher-stronger-cleaner-british-athletes-coached-in-washing-hands-tokyo-2020