Wash Your Hands to Prevent Infection

illustration of hand washing with soap and lather that says "clean your hands"Infection prevention is everybody‘s business, says APIC, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control.

At Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehab, we’re in full agreement with that statement. All of us—patients, visitors, nursing assistants, nurses, and doctors—work together to reduce the incidence of infection in our building.

During International Infection Prevention Week, we’re stepping up our efforts to raise awareness about infection spread and effective prevention.

Long-term care residents are particularly susceptible to infection, since they generally are in poorer health than the general public. In addition, living in close quarters can accelerate the spread of airborne infections, such as the flu.

That’s why we require all our staff to follow strict hand-washing protocols. We also ask our guests to wash their hands before and after visiting.

But are you washing your hands properly? Many people are not aware of the best way to get ride of germs when washing up. You may think it’s best to use extremely hot water, or strong antibacterial soap. This is actually not the case.

During last year’s strong flu season, we published a flu prevention guide. In case you missed it that time, here’s how to wash your hands properly:

Hand Washing Protocol

  • Wet your hands with running water of any temperature.
  • Apply soap—preferably not antibacterial soap—to one hand, and lather up.
  • Rub your hands together forcefully for at least 20 seconds. Scrub the backs of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
  • Rinse well and dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel.
  • Use the towel to turn off the faucet so you don’t transfer the germs back to your clean hands.
  • If leaving the bathroom, use a clean paper towel to open the bathroom door, to further avoid contaminating your hands.

Hand Sanitizing Protocol

Say you don’t have access to running water and soap, but you want to free your hands of germs. Here’s how you can use waterless hand sanitizers, such as Purell, to get rid of infection-spreading microbes:

  • Make sure your hands are clean from all visible dirt or other matter.
  • Squirt a dime-sized amount of hand sanitizer onto your palm. You can also use a sanitizing wipe meant for skin.
  • Rub your hands together forcefully, covering your hands, wrists, fingers, and all areas in between.
  • Rub until all liquid is absorbed.

Whether you choose to sanitize with water and soap or waterless sanitizer, keep those hands free of germs. Making sure to wash your hands frequently is the best way you can prevent the spread of infection.


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