Hand Washing

Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness.

When should you wash your hands.

  • Before, during, and after preparing food.
  • Before eating food.
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound.
  • After using the toilet.
  • After changing an incontinent client or cleaning up a client who has used the toilet.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste.
  • After touching garbage.

Hand decontamination is appropriate for most routine clinical situations unless your hands are visibly dirty.

How to use hand sanitizers:

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount).
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands an fingers until your hands are dry.

Hand Hygiene and Glove Use:

  • Use of clean gloves doesn’t eliminate the need for rigorous hand hygiene. In fact, decontamination is required before and after their use because gloves create a warm, moist environment, a perfect incubator for microogranisms already on your hands. In addition, gloves can tear an allow microorganisms to pass from a patient to you, or vice-versa.

To avoid risk of exposure when removing gloves:

  • Grasp one glove and peel it down from top to bottom.
  • With the exposed hand, repeat the procedure on the other side, tucking the first glove inside the second.
  • Never allow the outside of the gloves to touch your skin.
  • Discard immediately and decontaminate your hands.

Dermatitis and Hand Hygiene:

  • An unfortunate byproduct of conscientious hand hygiene may be chronic, irritant contact dermatitis. Surveys indicate healthcare workers wash their hands an average of 5 to 30 times per shift.
  • Using approved hand lotions after washing decreases skin damage. Clinical trials show that alcohol-based antiseptics create significantly fewer skin problems than washing with soap and water. Skin conditions improved dramatically when emollients were added to alcohol-based rubs.
  • The convenience and effectiveness of alcohol-based rubs means better utilization and improved hand hygiene.
  • Practicing good hand hygiene is your professional responsibility. Know and never deviate from recommended guidelines for hand washing and decontamination. The well-being and safety of everyone depends on it.


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Brick, NJ 08724-2540

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