Keeping your hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Wash hands with soap and clean, running water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol to clean hands.
Hand Hygiene Basics
Healthcare providers should practice hand hygiene at key points in time to disrupt the transmission of microorganisms to patient including: before patient contact; after contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces (even if gloves are worn); before invasive procedures; and after removing gloves (wearing gloves is not enough to prevent the transmission of pathogens in healthcare settings).
Patients and their loved ones can play a role in helping to prevent infections by practicing hand hygiene themselves as well as asking or reminding their providers to perform hand hygiene. www.cdc.gov/handhygiene
Proper Hand Washing Techniques:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm and 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, 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 the beginning twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
- Apply hand lotion to avoid cracking skin.
When should we wash our hands:
Recommendations from the CDC to decontaminate hands:
1. Before having direct contact with patients.
2. Before donning sterile gloves when inserting a central intravascular catheter.
3. Before inserting indwelling urinary catheters, peripheral vascular catheters, or other invasive devices that do not require a surgical procedure.
4. After contact with a patient's intact skin (e.g., when taking a pulse or blood pressure, and lifting a patient).
5. After contact with body fluids or excretions, mucous membranes, non-intact skin, and would dressings if hands are not visibly soiled.
6. If moving from a contaminated-body site to a clean-body site during patient care.
7. After contact with inaminate objects (including medical equipment) in the immediate vicinity of the patient.
8. After touching a paitent or after removing gloves.
9. Before eating or after using a restroom, wash hands with soap and water.