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Handwashing

Hand Hygiene Guidelines for Healthcare Settings

Hand hygiene is one of the most important – and easiest – illness prevention methods available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidance in this area. Please read and adhere to the following:

Personnel should use an alcohol-based hand rub or wash with soap and water for the following clinical indications:

  • Immediately before touching a patient
  • Before performing an aseptic task (e.g., placing an indwelling device) or handling invasive medical devices
  • Before moving from work on a soiled body site to a clean body site on the same patient
  • After touching a patient or the patient’s immediate environment
  • After contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces
  • Immediately after glove removal

Healthcare facilities should:

  • Require healthcare personnel to perform hand hygiene in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations
  • Ensure that healthcare personnel perform hand hygiene with soap and water when hands are visibly soiled
  • Ensure that supplies necessary for adherence to hand hygiene are readily accessible in all areas where patient care is being delivered

Unless hands are visibly soiled, an alcohol-based hand rub is preferred over soap and water in most clinical situations due to evidence of better compliance compared to soap and water. Hand rubs are generally less irritating to hands and, in the absence of a sink, are an effective method of cleaning hands.

Here are two short videos showing how to properly wash your hands:

Read more about hand hygiene here: https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/index.html