Public Health
Handwashing
 

Introduction:

Thousands of people around the world die every day from infections acquired while receiving healthcare. It is essentially through hands that germs are transmitted. Hence comes the importance of handwashing as a means to prevent infection.

Importance of handwashing:
The importance of handwashing lies in the fact that it is an effective way to curb the incidence of numerous diseases, including: food poisoning, flu and diarrhea. In cases where clean, running water is not available, you can use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to clean your hands. Note that Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

When to wash hands?
  • Before and after caring for a patient;
  • If the hands are contaminated with blood or other body fluids;
  • After visiting a patient at hospital, or any other healthcare facility;
  • Before and after treating a cut or a wound;
  • Before, during, and after preparing food;
  • After using the toilet;
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet;
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste;
  • After handling pets, or pet food treats; 
  • After touching garbage.
How to use hand sanitizer? (Duration of the procedure: 20-30 seconds)
  1. Apply the sanitizer on the hand, and cover all surfaces of both hands;
  2. Rub hands palm to palm;
  3. Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa;
  4. Palm to palm with fingers interlaced;
  5. Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked;
  6. Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa;
  7. Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa;
  8. Wait till your hands are dry.

How to wash hands? (Duration of the procedure: 40-60 seconds):

Wet hands with water, and apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces; 

Rub hands palm to palm;

Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa;

Palm to palm with fingers interlaced;

Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked;

Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa;

Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa;

Rinse hands with water;

Dry hands thoroughly with a single-use towel;

Use towel to turn off faucet;

Your hands are now safe. 



 


General tips:
  • Don’t routinely wash your hands with water and soap before or after applying a sanitizer;
  • Avoid washing your hands with hot water;
  • Keep your nails trimmed. 

Clinical Education General Department
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