Two Rivers: World Hand Hygiene Day May 5
Improve healthcare provider adherence to CDC hand hygiene recommendations.
Address the myths and misperceptions about hand hygiene.
Empower patients to play a role in their care by asking or reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands.
When should you clean your hands?
- Before preparing or eating food
- Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Before and after changing wound dressings or bandages
- After using the restroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching hospital surfaces such as bed rails, bedside tables, doorknobs, remote controls, or the phone
Which One? Soap and Water vs. Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer
An alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the preferred method for cleaning your hands when they are not visibly dirty because it:
- Is more effective at killing potentially deadly germs on hands than soap
- Requires less time
- Is more accessible than handwashing sinks
- Produces reduced bacterial counts on hands, and
- Improves skin condition with less irritation and dryness than soap and water
How should you clean your hands?
With an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- Put product on hands and rub hands together
- Cover all surfaces until hands feel dry
- This should take around 20 seconds
With soap and water:
- Wet your hands with warm water. Use liquid soap if possible. Apply a nickel- or quarter-sized amount of soap to your hands.
- Rub your hands together until the soap forms a lather and then rub all over the top of your hands, in between your fingers and the area around and under the fingernails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 15 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel if possible. Then use your paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door if needed.
Clostridium difficile and Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer
- Clostridium difficile is a common healthcare-associated infection that causes severe diarrhea.
- C. difficile forms spores that are not killed by an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- The spores can be transferred to patients via the hands of healthcare providers who have touched a contaminated surface or item.
- If you have a C. difficile infection, make sure your healthcare providers wear gloves when examining you.
- The most important way that you can prevent the spread of C. difficile is by washing your hands with soap and water after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers Do Not Cause Antibiotic Resistance
- The antimicrobial activity of alcohols can be attributed to their ability to denature proteins. They kill germs quickly and in a different way than antibiotics.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60%-95% alcohol are most effective at denaturing proteins.
- There is no chance for the germs to adapt or develop resistance.
Speak up for clean hands
Protect yourself by asking questions:
- Clean your own hands and ask those around you to do the same.
- Don’t be afraid to use your voice: it’s ok to ask your healthcare provider questions, such as:
- - “I didn’t see you clean your hands when you came in, would you mind cleaning them again before you examine me?”
- - “I’m worried about germs spreading in the hospital. Will you please clean your hands once more before you start my treatment?”
- Ask your loved ones to clean their hands too:
- - “I saw you clean your hands when you arrived some time ago, but would you mind cleaning them again?”