The issues outlined in this paper were discussed by a group of experts in home and everyday life hygiene, at a meeting in London in 2017. The meeting was held at the Royal Society of Public Health, London and was hosted by the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene. At this meeting it was agreed to prepare a consensus white paper summarising the issues which were discussed and outlining recommendation for change.
The paper sets out to show why hygiene in home and everyday life is so important and what needs to be done to change hygiene behaviour, whilst at the same time addressing other concerns which impact on our ability to achieve this. Not only is hygiene important for prevention of infections, it is also key to tackling the problem of antibiotic resistance and reducing pressure on health services
One of the questions the paper sets out to answer is “how do we protect ourselves against infectious diseases whilst at the same time sustaining exposure to the diverse range of microbes that also inhabit our world which are vital to health?”. The paper also argues for a more balanced approach where concerns about sustainable use of resources such as heat and detergents, and concerns about disinfectant use, are weighed against the need to deliver effective hygiene.
This unique paper examines these issues in an integrated manner and focuses on making achievable, constructive recommendations. The paper lays out a risk management strategy (targeted hygiene) for hygiene in home & everyday life which gives hygiene appropriate priority within the context of environmental and other health concerns.
Based on our findings, the paper issues a call to national and international policy makers, etc. to recognize the need for a family-centred approach to hygiene, and provide effective leadership to achieve this. It also issues a call to scientists, health professionals, environmental and regulatory agencies, immunologists, the private sector and the media to work together to address these issues. A collaborative effort is vital if we are to overcome barriers to change and action integrated behaviour change programmes that really work.
A summary of the report, key points and calls to action is also available.
A slide deck presentation of the key points of the key points of the white paper is also attached - you need to view it on full screeen