HPC: Washing Your Hands

Hand Hygiene 101

Laura CaseyBy Laura Casey, BSN, RN, Health Partnership Clinic, Infection Control & Occupational Health Coordinator

Keeping hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to prevent the spread of germs. Hand washing is easy, and it takes about 20 seconds to do. By washing your hands with soap during the day, you can prevent the spread of germs.

Here’s the proper way to wash your hands:

1. Wet your hands with water and apply soap.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
4. Rinse your hands well under the water.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

Handwashing Tips

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What if soap and water are unavailable?

Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Take the following steps when using hand sanitizer:
1. Apply the product on the palm of one hand.
2. Rub your hands together.
3. Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands, including in between fingers and underneath fingernails.
4. Allow your hands to dry completely before touching anything.
Hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations, but they do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers can be a safe and effective alternative to handwashing if soap and water are unavailable.

Hand Washing is Key!

Remember proper hand washing is key in the prevention of germs spreading from person to person—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic! During International Infection Prevention Week, Oct. 18-24, the clinic will be building awareness about the importance of proper hand hygiene with various activities. Tip sheets and other information will be available in the clinic lobbies, and helpful tips will be shared on social media.

Hand Hygiene