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The Swiss cheese model of virus prevention

No single defence against infection is perfect. They all have some area of failure, like the holes in a slice of Swiss cheese. That's why multiple layers of defence are required.

Multiple layers improve success

The vaccine is seen as the silver bullet to protect us from COVID-19, but it is worth remembering that there is no perfect defence. 

Dr Ian Mackay (virologydownunder.com) explained this using the analogy of virus defence strategies as layers of swiss cheese. Each has holes that will allow infection cases to slip through, but the more layers we have in place, the less risk of infection we face.

It’s not just about vaccines

When coronavirus first came to worldwide attention in early 2020, sales of our hand-washing training products went through the roof. In fact, we sold out completely of many products.

Things quietened down again as Australia’s border closures allowed us to avoid the worst of the pandemic. And then came Delta – a variant of the disease that seems much more infectious and dangerous than the original.

This time, however, there was no surge in sales. Everyone appeared happy to rely on masks and vaccines to protect themselves. As we know from our Swiss cheese analogy, these strategies have holes.  The masks most commonly used by the public provide very limited defence against airborne particles, and vaccines are only useful if a large percentage of the population take them.

Proper hand hygiene remains a vital layer of defence

Once vaccination rates reach a certain level, governments will begin to ease restrictions and people will begin to return to life as normal. With absolute certainty, this will mean that COVID-positive people will be circulating in the community.

This is when your personal layers of protection will be most important.

So right now is a great time to teach your family, your staff and others around you about the importance of good hand hygiene.

Teaching hand washing

There are all sorts of things you can tell people about hand washing – use soap, use running water, wash for 20 seconds – but until you actually show people the difference between a splash and dash and a proper wash, the message doesn’t really sink in. GlitterBug Potion is a memorable, interactive demonstration that visually shows the benefits of good techniques.

Find out more about GlitterBug Potion.

Teaching hand sanitiser

There’s a bottle of hand sanitiser on the counter of most stores. When was the last time you used it? Did you do it properly?

GlitterBug Gel mimics hand sanitiser and help teach about the importance of complete coverage.

Find out more about GlitterBug Gel.

Teaching about how germs spread

You touch a handrail. You touch your face. You shake hands. You rub your eye. All day, every day we do things that expose us to viruses. 

But because we can’t see the germs, we don’t think about the consequences. 

GlitterBug Powder is a nearly invisible powder that can be spread around to mimic the way that germs spread. Sprinkle some on a book and then hand that book around a classroom. Within minutes, a UV light will show powder on fingers and faces. It’s a powerful lesson.

Find out more about GlitterBug Powder.