Why Is Handwashing Important?
This video is about washing your hands to get rid of germs so that you don’t spread infection. Germs are bacteria, yeast, and viruses that cause sickness and infection. They are so small you can’t see them.
Germs are always on your hands and can be spread to
- other parts of your own body,
- the person you are caring for
- anything else you touch.
Wash your hands after you
- sneeze or
- blow your nose,
- handle trash
- after you touch anything bloody or dirty.
You must wash your hands before and after you take care of a patient, touch their food or drink, and use the toilet.
For good handwashing, you need to wash for 20-30 seconds almost half a minute. You can time yourself by humming the “Happy Birthday” song two times. If you can see dirt on your hands, it takes even longer to get them clean, don’t rush.
Rubbing your hands together loosens dirt and germs from your skin and the running water washes them away.
Pay attention to clean the tops and bottoms of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Use liquid soap if possible because bar soap can have germs on the outside.
Make sure paper towels and a trash bin are nearby.
Remove jewelry from your hands except for a wedding band and push your sleeves up.
Turn on the water and wet your hands.
Pump enough soap from the dispenser to cover your hands as you rub them together.
Start counting to 20 slowly at this point, or hum the “happy birthday” song 2 times.
Rub your fingers together, the back of each hand and around each thumb.
Get soap under your fingernails by rubbing your nails against the palm or inside of your other hand. If your nails are dirty, clean under them.
Keep rubbing your hands together until the end of your count.
Rinse your hands completely.
Because the sink has germs, use a paper towel to turn off the water.
Throw away the paper towel.
Use a new paper towel to dry your hands completely.
Then throw it away.
If soap and water are not available you may use alcohol-based, waterless hand sanitizers. Use enough sanitizer to cover your hands completely when you rub them together and keep rubbing them together until they are dry.
- alcohol-based, waterless hand sanitizers.
- Use enough sanitizer to cover your hands completely
- when you rub them together keep rubbing them together until they are dry.
Waterless sanitizers kill most but not all germs. Sanitizers are not as good as soap and water for germs from diarrhea, especially a bacteria called CDiff.
They also do not work if you can see dirt on your hands or if they are wet from blood or something else.
Key points to remember with handwashing are to
- use soap from a pump dispenser,
- rub your hands together for 20-30 seconds,
- rinse completely with water.
Remember with waterless hand sanitizers to rub in until dry, that they are not a good choice if you see dirt on your hands and that they do not kill all germs, especially those from diarrhea.
This video is intended as a tool to help you to better understand the care instructions that you have been given. It is not intended to replace any specific advice or personal care instructions that you have received from your care team. If you have any questions or problems please be sure to call or be seen.