Wash Your Hands

Wash Your Hands to Prevent Infections

Hands are a Lethal Weapon

Taking the time to wash your hands is the #1 defensive action you can choose to prevent infection. Your hands come into contact with more germs than any other part of your body. Once a bug takes hold, the hands transport that germ to multiple body locations within minutes. Tracking the hands’ movements shows the futility of saying, “keep your hands to yourself.”  We unconsciously scratch, swipe, brush and rub our bodies regularly with our hands. Each slight thoughtless touch transmits that unseen Coronavirus to the next part of the body or the next victim.

Therefore, if we hope to decrease the risk associated with this dangerous weapon, we must learn to mitigate the danger.

Hand Hygiene

That’s where learning to wash your hands correctly and to use protective barriers come into play.  Handwashing, or hand hygiene as it’s called in hospitals, is your #1 defense against the spread of infection.  Hand hygiene doesn’t just involve washing the hand, though; it also means keeping under your fingernails clean, not wearing chipped nail polish, keeping your fingernails short, and NOT wearing artificial fingernails. Artificial fingernails, jewelry, and chipped nail polish serve as homes to bacteria. To prevent the spread of germs, you should remove all jewelry and not have your nails done.

More than just Washing Hands

It also means being honest about dirty hands, being diligent about washing, and not coming to work sick.  Cough into your crooked arm, don’t use handkerchiefs and use hand sanitizer after shaking hands (or don’t shake hands, shake elbows instead).

Play it safe.  Please keep your hands away from your face, and wash them often.

Using the correct way to wash your hands is essential to preventing infections.
Using the correct way to wash your hands is essential to preventing infections.

Important Principles in the Use of Hand Sanitizers

  • Remember these key facts from the Centers for Disease Control about alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

    Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations.

    • If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • You can tell if the sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol by looking at the product label.
    • Sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on their hands in some situations. Sanitizers do not get rid of all types of germs.
    • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
    • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals from hands like pesticides and heavy metals.
    • Keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of young children and supervise their use. Swallowing alcohol-based hand sanitizers can cause alcohol poisoning if more than a couple of mouthfuls are swallowed.

Correctly Applying Hand Sanitizer

  • Apply the gel product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.

how to correctly wash your hands!

  • Wet your hands and wrists with warm water. Do not use bar soap. Bacteria remain on bar soap after use and re-contaminate the hands of the next person who uses the soap.
    • Hold your hands below the elbow level as you rub them together. Work up a good lather by vigorously rubbing your hands together for 20 seconds. Pay special attention to your fingernails, cuticles, thumbs, knuckles, and sides of fingers where germs harbor.
    • Rinse hands and wrists thoroughly with subs running down arms into the sink.
    • Blot hands dry (don’t rub them and cause friction burns).
    • Turn off water using a paper towel.
    • Apply alcohol-based hand rub to the palm of one hand and rub hands together, covering all surfaces.
    • Continue rubbing hands together until all the product has dried up  (about 30 seconds).
    • Use hand lotion between washing to soothe dry hands from excessive hand hygiene practices.

Handwashing Made Simple

To correctly wash your hands every time, follow these steps

    • 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. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
    • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
    • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
    • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.