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.