How Do You Wash Your Hands?
Germs are present always on your hands and they can be transferred to:
- other parts of your own body,
- to the family member for whom you are caring
- your patient
- and to any clean object that you touch.
By washing your hands correctly, you remove germs from your hands. Handwashing is the single most important way you can prevent infection from occurring and prevent the spread of infection. You must carefully wash and dry your hands:
- Before and after each time you care for your family member or your patient.
- Before and after you handle your patient's and your own food and drink.
- Before and after you manipulate any contact lenses.
- Before you apply and after you remove gloves
- After you use the toilet.
- After you cough, sneeze or blow your nose.
- After contact with anything that could be soiled or have germs on it.
- After you pick up any object from the floor
- Handwashing takes a minimum of 10-15 seconds,
- longer if your hands are soiled.
The longer you wash, the more germs are removed. The friction generated by rubbing your hands together removes the germs from your skin and running water can then wash them away.
Every time you wash your hands, take your time and don't rush. Do the handwashing carefully and thoroughly.
Use liquid soap from a dispenser. Bar soap holds germs on its surface. Make sure you have paper towels and a waste receptacle nearby.
Remove all jewelry from your hand except a wedding band and push your watch and sleeves up, away from your hands.
Turn on warm water. Point your fingers down to prevent water running onto your arms and wet your hands. Apply soap from the dispenser.
Point your fingers down and rub your hands vigorously together in a circular motion. Star counting seconds at this point. Intertwine your fingers to clean all surfaces of the fingers. Rub your fingernails against the palm of the other hand to get soap under the tips of the nails. If your nails are soiled, clean under them with an orange stick or brush.
Keep your hands down and continue to rub them together in a circular motion until the end of your count for 15 seconds. Keep your hands down and rinse them from the wrist to fingertips. Pick up a clean paper towel and turn off the water, still keeping your hands pointing down.
Discard the paper towel into a waste receptacle Pick up another clean paper towel and carefully and completely dry your hands. Discard the paper towel into a waste receptacle.
The key points to remember are:
- that friction is critical for removing germs
- and the friction should be applied for at least 15 seconds.
- Always keep your fingers pointed down
- and turn off the water with a paper towel.