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Thread: Anti bacterial gels

  1. #1
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    Default Anti bacterial gels

    I have just been reading about a paddler that contracted Weil's disease, which was very nasty, but happily is now getting better.

    Not related to that incident, as I have no knowledge of it, I was thinking that the most likely way of contracting this would be hand contact with the river bank or water running off from the paddle, and perhaps direct hand contact with the river, rather than say a capsize.

    We then stop for a break and eat a sandwich/cake etc. There are no facilities to wash hands, so there must be a real risk of ingestion at this point.

    So my question to anyone with the knowledge is do anti bacterial gels provide any protection against Weil's disease?

  2. #2
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    As Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection I believe it will be stopped by antibacterial gel. I always carry and use it.

    I do remember hearing a doctor once say regarding personal hygiene that you can stop bathing safely for weeks at a time, but your hands can never be clean enough.

    (Of course your friends and family may take a different view ).
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  3. #3
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    It's bacterial so yeah they will help. Wont help if it splashes in to cuts, your mouth or eyes.

    Carrying the hand sanitizer stuff and using it is always a good idea especially if on canals, rivers with livestock in it etc.
    Cheers,

    Alan


  4. #4
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    Thank you. It sounds like this should be standard kit.

    Sent from my SM-T813 using Tapatalk

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    Its a mind set problem for me. I know the risk, I know the precautions to take, but at the end of most trips, I find the bottle, unused, in the dry box. May be a transfer to the buoyancy aid or even permanently hooked in the boat. As I am approaching being unable to remember my name on occasions, some other process is needed.

  6. #6
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    I keep a teeny travel bottle topped up from a bigger bottle and it lives in the pocket beside my lighter so every time I brew up or make lunch my hand touches it and reminds me to bloomin' use it!!
    Cheers,

    Alan


  7. #7
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    Just don't forget those pesky bacteria get on your outer layers & BA - so get them off and stashed away and then do your hands again.
    You don't stop playing because you get old - you get old because you stop playing.

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    Hopefully to clarify; the bacteria are more often found on land than in water. Anglers are at particular risk when putting their sandwich down and it's not just rats, cattle can also carry the disease. Slow moving water can be an issue but fast flowing mountain rivers are unlikely to be a problem. At times of flash floods, rat burrows can be washed out and the bacteria may be found in the water. So, times to be most vigilant:

    Lunch stops
    Canals
    Recent floods or high water

    And, yes, you should use a hand sanitizer and, yes, I am like Peter and often forget to use it.

  9. #9
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    I keep a little bottle of it in my lunch box.
    I also wrap my Sarnies individually in plastic bags so I can eat them without touching the bread. (I don't cut the bread after making the sandwich)

    It's a matter of making it a habit. That way it feels unnatural doing anything else.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  10. #10
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    never used it in 60 years, it wasn't invented until recently for everyday use until the big companies got the idea and advertisers sold it to us!
    ( like bottled water- the biggest con out).
    the more bleach,disinfectant, sanitizers you use the less effective your natural immune system gets. ( at least, that's the way I see it).
    nature is m X-box

  11. #11
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    Similar for me. I carry it, and sometimes remember to use it. We need to all get into the habit, and then hopefully at least one member of a group will remember before we pass round the biccies...

    I have heard from other people that the simple alcohol gels are not brilliant at cleaning hands and that wipes are better as they remove the actual dirt which gels sometimes don't do. I suspect that as long as you are reasonably diligent, either will do the job. In my mind, gels are more likely to kill the bacteria, but get that they might not actually shift dirt, so not sure on the truth either way.

  12. #12
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    There is a bottle of sanitizing hand gel in my First Aid Kit so that I know where it is and that I will remember to take it with me on paddles. My butties tend to be individually cling film wrapped as it stops all those lovely tomato juices etc leaking everywhere within their sealed plastic bag in my dry bag. Like Big Al I can eat my butties without touching them with my hands so I could probably get away without using the gel but I use it anyway. By not touching the butties with my hands they don't end up tasting of sanitizer.
    DCUK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potty Paddler View Post
    My butties tend to be individually cling film wrapped
    This reads like you are disassociated from the sandwich making process.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andym View Post
    the more bleach,disinfectant, sanitizers you use the less effective your natural immune system gets. ( at least, that's the way I see it).
    And so do I Andy but there are just a few bugs out there who can be really vicious and it doesn't hurt to take precautions against them.

    When I was a kid, the children next door would get home from school, get dumped in the bath and spent the rest of the evening in their night clothes. All to protect them from the dreaded germs. They caught absolutely every disease going around.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Grey View Post
    I have heard from other people that the simple alcohol gels are not brilliant at cleaning hands and that wipes are better as they remove the actual dirt which gels sometimes don't do. I suspect that as long as you are reasonably diligent, either will do the job. In my mind, gels are more likely to kill the bacteria, but get that they might not actually shift dirt, so not sure on the truth either way.
    This should never be a problem on river trips because you can use water (potentially contaminated) to wash the dirt off first, and then use the gel to kill any nasty bacteria.

    I do use wipes for quite a lot of things, but noting that they are plastic based disposable items and make up a significant amount of the plastic pollution I try to minimise the amount and number I use, and also ensure I collect them and bin them properly - I would recommend trying to do without wipes on the river.

    In the grand canyon the standard procedure before any meal, is to wash your hands in the river using biodegradable soap (bottle hanging off the front of a raft so it is handy) and then use alchohol gel when you reach the table to get your food. I don't think Weils is much of a concern there - there are no rats in the canyon and parts of the strict rules for food hygiene and such are to avoid attracting them down there and the only other mammals apart from humans are spread very thinly. However any kind of disease will spread quickly through a small group camping and eating together for a couple of weeks so camp and food hygiene is a top priority.
    It should be for any river trip really, there are many harmful bacteria that can be in our water and in many rural locations there will be thinks like storm run off from septic tanks or agriculture that can mean such bacteria are in water we assume to be clean and mountain fresh.

    I rarely eat lunch on the river, I prefer to stop, change and wash before eating so I almost never remember to have any gel or soap on the rare occasions I do have lunch with me. I keep gel in the car though and my camping kit so any time I am eating "at base" whether it be the car or tent, I use it. Unless there is sink and soap of course.

    I do think we need to be careful about how much soap and anti-bacterial matter we introduce into watercourses because it will kill beneficial bacteria etc. as well as harmful ones. Again taking the canyon as an example soap can only be used in the main river (around 10000cfs) where it is quickly dispersed to avoid polluting, it is illegal to use it in any of the side creeks where it will kill fish etc. I have always followed a similar train of thought when sea kayaking - wash up in the sea, never in the stream. Rinse salt water out with fresh once pans are clean, but only clean bottles/pans go in the stream to collect the fresh water.

    How hard can it be?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Potty Paddler View Post
    My butties tend to be individually cling film wrapped
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrian Cooper View Post
    This reads like you are disassociated from the sandwich making process.
    Very perceptive Adrian, my lovely wife makes them for me whilst I'm sorting out my boat & paddling gear.
    DCUK
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  17. #17
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    I never use it. primarily on the grounds that in putting such stuff on your skin it is bound to end up back in the river. polluting it.

  18. #18
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    I'm pretty sure that the infection only enters the body through cuts or the mucus membranes, nose, eyes etc and not through ingestion. It is actually (fortunately) quite difficult to contract the disease. Being careful and using hand wash wont hurt of course but eating on the river side isnt the biggest risk.

  19. #19
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    This is from the HSE website:
    Harmful Micro-Organisms: Leptospirosis / Weil’s Disease from rats
    Construction workers may be exposed to a type of Leptospirosis called Weil’s Disease . This page tells you how to control this risk and why.You also need to be aware of the general information on micro-organisms.

    What you must do
    Follow the Assess, Control and Review model. Pay particular attention to the following things:

    Assess
    Identify and assess: The risk of Weil’s disease is linked to areas where rats are or have been present. Work is considered higher risk where there is evidence of rat infestation. This is most likely to be during refurbishment or demolition work. Other potential situations include work linked to canals, rivers or sewers.

    Control
    Control: Where Weil’s disease is known / assumed to be present, control this risk by:

    General controls – follow the general controls for harmful micro-organisms. Pay particular attention to:

    wearing protective clothing like gloves
    following good basic hygiene including regular hand-washing and avoiding hand to mouth/eye etc contact
    taking rest breaks, including meals and drinks, away from the work area;
    washing cuts and grazes immediately with soap and running water Cover all cuts, abrasions and other breaks in the skin with waterproof dressings and/or gloves.
    Review
    Supervise: Ensure that controls are effective and used by the workers.

    What you should know
    The Weil’s disease form of leptospirosis is contracted from the urine of infected rats. The bacteria get into your body through cuts and scratches or through the lining of the mouth, throat and eyes after contact with infected urine or contaminated water. It is a rare condition in the UK. The disease starts with flu-like symptoms such as a headache or muscle pains. More severe cases can lead to meningitis, kidney failure and other serious conditions. In rare cases the disease can be fatal.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf View Post
    I'm pretty sure that the infection only enters the body through cuts or the mucus membranes, nose, eyes etc and not through ingestion. It is actually (fortunately) quite difficult to contract the disease. Being careful and using hand wash wont hurt of course but eating on the river side isnt the biggest risk.
    The clue is in your next post, the lining of the mouth (rather than your actual gut) is one of the places the infection can get at you, so as you say, not actual ingestion, but eating is still a risk.

    How hard can it be?

  21. #21
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    The form cows get is infectious to humans but not as nasty the one rats carry. It can still make you pretty sick though. Dogs can contract it too, it's part of the routine annual vaccination for dogs.

    As a general rule, as outlined above, you casn't disinfect dirt. So clean THEN disinfect.

    However, I personally have a pretty cavilear attitude to hand washing when out camping, I usually wash them IN the loch/river. I would be a lot cagier about a canal though.

    You can contract lepto directly through your skin too. The infectious dose is relatively small.
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gdd View Post
    I have just been reading about a paddler that contracted Weil's disease, which was very nasty, but happily is now getting better.

    Not related to that incident, as I have no knowledge of it, I was thinking that the most likely way of contracting this would be hand contact with the river bank or water running off from the paddle, and perhaps direct hand contact with the river, rather than say a capsize.

    We then stop for a break and eat a sandwich/cake etc. There are no facilities to wash hands, so there must be a real risk of ingestion at this point.

    So my question to anyone with the knowledge is do anti bacterial gels provide any protection against Weil's disease?
    Is this the person you were reading about in the link below.

    Link to article


    I've just read it, and it makes chilling reading.
    Big Al.

    Only when the last tree has died
    and the last river been poisoned
    and the last fish been caught
    will we realise we cannot eat money.
    ~Cree Indian Proverb

  23. #23
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    Caught Leptospirosis earlier this year, 95% certain it was from unwashed hands after a practice session on a canal.
    Fortunate to get antibiotics into me before it progressed to Weils disease.
    The thing about having a healthy immune system because of constant exposure to germs/muck is largely a myth for adults and kids over the age of 2.
    Up to the age of two exposure does help the immune system but after that there is little beneficial effect. In fact there is research to suggest that being exposed to bacteria and virus in adult life can have a degrading effect on your immune system.
    Also with your happily mucky hands who and where else will you be contaminating?
    It is no coincidence that hospitals that adopted strict hand wash protocols in recent years drastically reduced hospital borne infections. In fact the reason that most of the persons commenting on this thread are still alive is largely due to the vast improvements we've made in hygiene since the pre Victorian era.

    Alcohol wash will kill the bacteria but you only have a window of about 30 minutes where your hands are still "safe". I always carry it...…...I often forget!
    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

  24. #24
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    Thank you everyone it has been an interesting discussion and I now have gel in my kit.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mayobren View Post
    It is no coincidence that hospitals that adopted strict hand wash protocols in recent years drastically reduced hospital borne infections.
    Hand disinfecting.

    It turns out hand WASHING itself is no help in a hospital environment, probably makes things worse. New hospitals are being built WITHOUT sinks in most places. They are a harbour for some pretty tenacious and resistant bugs and get used for some pretty unsavoury things that you probably shouldn't be putting your hands near anyway. The soap also strips the primary protective oil layer off your skin allowing bacteria deeper in the pores to come to the surface. The bacterial count on your skin will be higher 10 minutes after washing with soap and water than it was before.

    As a vet, our SOP is not to wash hands unless they are visibly soiled. I use hand rubs. They are isopropyl alcohol rather than ethanol based. Even when for prepping for surgery, a 90 second rub with IPA based rub and I can safely perform abdominal surgery with bare hands (ungloved).

    My skin is so much happier since I started doing this and we have seen no increase in post-op wound infections.

    The EU standard "6 step handwashing technique" has also been proven to be less effective than simply telling someone to clean their hands paying particular attention to the thumbs and fingertips. They persist in putting the posters up though.

    The one thing the IPA rubs don't get very well are non-encapsulated viruses. Bad news if you don't want norovirus!
    "I'm not getting in a boat which is DESIGNED to go upside down."

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