World Health Organization’s World Hand Hygiene Day is in May and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued the "Clean Hands Count" campaign. Here are some simple hand hygiene prevention tips. 

Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat. On average, healthcare providers clean their hands less than half of the times they should. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.

Introduction to Hand Hygiene

What is Hand Hygiene?

  • Hand Hygiene means cleaning your hands by using either handwashing (washing hands with soap and water), antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub (i.e. alcohol-based hand sanitizer including foam or gel), or surgical hand antisepsis

Why Practice Hand Hygiene?

Cleaning your hands reduces:

  • The spread of potentially deadly germs to patients
  • The risk of healthcare provider colonization or infection caused by germs acquired from the patient

When to Perform Hand Hygiene

Clean your hands:

  • Before eating
  • Before and after having direct contact with a patient's intact skin (taking a pulse or blood pressure, performing physical examinations, lifting the patient in bed)
  • After contact with blood, body fluids or excretions, mucous membranes, non-intact skin, or wound dressings
  • After contact with inanimate objects (including medical equipment) in the immediate vicinity of the patient
  • If hands will be moving from a contaminated-body site to a clean-body site during patient care
  • After glove removal
  • After using a restroom

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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