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Handwashing to prevent infection has always been part of every day life but now, more than ever.

The purpose of hand washing is to remove dirt, viruses and bacteria from hands to stop these being spread to the environment and from person to person, which can lead to illness. People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year, hundreds of millions of patients around the world are affected by healthcare associated infections and aiming for six to 10 washes a day can make a big difference when it comes to keeping viruses and bacteria at bay.

It is especially important to ensure you wash your hands in order to help prevent the spread of infection when visiting a friend or relative in hospital or other healthcare environment.

Washing your hands properly should take about as long as singing “Happy Birthday” twice (around 20 seconds). If you do not have immediate access to soap and water then use alcohol-based handrub if available.

One of our Directors and a Registered Nurse, Sarah, has produced this short informative video to show you how to correctly wash your hands.

The 7 Steps of Hand Washing:

  1. Step 1: Wet Hands. Wet your hands and apply enough liquid soap to create a good lather. …
  2. Step 2: Rub Palms Together. …
  3. Step 3: Rub the Back of Hands. …
  4. Step 4: Interlink Your Fingers. …
  5. Step 5: Cup Your Fingers. …
  6. Step 6: Clean the Thumbs. …
  7. Step 7: Rub Palms with Your Fingers.

Take care of your hands by regularly using a protective hand cream or lotion, at least daily if you can.

The ‘gold standard’ for hand drying is with the use of good quality, absorbent paper towels.

The following are just some examples of when to wash your hands:

  • Before starting work and just before the end of the working day
  • Before and after physical contact with anyone
  • Whenever hands become visibly soiled or after microbial contamination
  • Before and after putting on and removing any protective clothing (this includes sterile and non-sterile gloves)
  • Before and after the administration of handling wounds and/or contaminated items such as dressings, bedpans, urinals, urine drainage bags and nappies
  • After handling laundry
  • Before preparing, eating, drinking or handling food
  • After visiting the toilet
  • After blowing your nose and/or covering a sneeze

We also cover Hand Washing on our Infection Control course. Contact us now for further details