All Hands on Deck
Good hand hygiene is hands down the simplest and most effective way to prevent infections.
Clean hands can prevent the spread of germs, even the ones that are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Patients and healthcare providers need to work together to ensure we keep the upper hand against germs.
PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER
Compared to soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are better at reducing bacterial counts on hands and are effective against multidrug-resistant organisms (e.g., MRSA). They’re also less drying and irritating. Make sure you use a generous amount, rub until dry, about 20 seconds. Pay particular attention to these often missed areas: between your fingers, thumbs and fingertips.
Patients and healthcare providers should discuss hand hygiene:
PROVIDERS: Wash hands early and often during a consultation. Wash hands when finished.
PATIENTS: It’s ok to ask for someone to wash their hands to prevent the spread of germs, even if it's your caregiver.
Your hands have good germs on them that your body needs to stay healthy. Your hands can also have bad germs on them that make you sick. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers kill the good and bad germs, but the good germs quickly come back on your hands. Patients should make sure that they and their visitors are cleaning their hands at these important times:
- Before eating
- Before touching eyes, nose or mouth
- After using the restroom (using soap and water)
- After sneezing, blowing nose or coughing
- After touching doorknobs, bed rails, bedside table, remote control or phone
- Before and after changing bandages
GETTING A HANDLE ON INFECTION
Common healthcare-associated infections can cause fever, chills, diarrhea or other symptoms. If you have signs of any infection, make sure your healthcare providers wear gloves to examine you.
PROPER HAND HYGIENE TECHNIQUES
- WET your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- LATHER your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to follow the 6 step method which will address critical areas between your fingers and under your nails.
- SCRUB your hands for At least 20 seconds.
- RINSE your hands well under clean, running water.
- DRY your hands using a clean towel.