Proper hand hygiene helps reduce the spread of infections

By: Mon Health
April 20, 2017

Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection. Hand hygiene is the act of cleaning one's hands with a soap/solution (non-antimicrobial or antimicrobial) and water, or a waterless antimicrobial agent to the surface of the hands.

Increased hand hygiene leads to lower rates of infection among adults. You don’t only protect yourself, you also protect your family members, and your colleagues as well. You can spread certain "germs" (a general term for microbes like viruses and bacteria) casually by touching another person or the environment.

Proper hand hygiene helps reduce the spread of infections, such as the common cold, and helps battle the rise in antibiotic resistance. To properly perform hand hygiene, wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds, rinse and pat dry. You follow the same steps when using the waterless antimicrobial product by rubbing for 20 seconds allowing the sanitizer to dry.

Preventing the spread of germs is especially important in hospitals and other facilities such as dialysis centers and nursing homes. Even healthcare providers are at risk of getting an infection while they are treating patients. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not performing hand hygiene.

Keeping hands clean prevents illness at home, at school, and at work. So many nasty illnesses start with poor hand hygiene. Salmonella, campylobacter, MRSA, flu, diarrhea and sickness, the common cold, impetigo, – these are just some of the viruses and infections passed between people who do not wash their hands. About 5,000 germs live on your hands at any given time, but washing your hands takes just 20 seconds and can prevent as many as 200 diseases.

Hand hygiene is a simple thing and it's the best way to prevent infection and illness. Hand hygiene is especially important in the hospital, because patients are already sick and we don’t want to make them sicker. Clean hands prevent infections.

At Mon General, we want patients to feel comfortable asking their healthcare worker, “Did you wash your hands?” We don’t mind for a patient to ask us about hand washing. We want to encourage them to be an active member in their health care. We want the patient to know that we care about their health. This is just one way that patients and healthcare workers can help each other prevent the spread of infection. We want our patients to know, “It’s OK to Ask.”
  - General
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