Why?

Thousands of people die every day around the world from infections acquired while they were receiving health care.

Hands are still the main pathways of germ transmission during the health care process.

Hand hygiene is therefore the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent dangerous health care-associated infections.

This article explains how and when to practice hand hygiene.

 

How?

Clean your hands by rubbing them with an alcohol-based formulation, as the preferred mean for routine hygienic hand antisepsis if hands are not visibly soiled. It is faster, more effective, and above all better tolerated by your hands than washing them with soap and water.

When your hands are visibly dirty or visibly soiled with blood or other body fluids or after using the toilet it’s best you wash your hands with water and with soap.

Hand washing with water and soap is the preferred means if you (especially your hands) were exposed to potential spore-forming pathogens.

 

How to handrub?

Rub your hands for hand hygiene! Wash your hands when they are visibly soiled.

Duration: this entire procedure takes 20 – 30 seconds.

  • Apply a palmful of the product in a cupped hand, covering all surfaces.
  • Rub hands palm to palm.
  • Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa.
  • Palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
  • Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
  • Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.
  • Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
  • Once dry, your hands are safe.

how to hand rub

 

How to handwash?

Wash your hands when they are visibly soiled! Otherwise, use a handrub for your hand hygiene.

Duration: this entire procedure takes 40 – 60 seconds.

  • Wet hands with water.
  • Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.
  • Rub hands palm to palm.
  • Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa.
  • Palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
  • Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
  • Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.
  • Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
  • Rinse hands with water.
  • Dry hands thoroughly with a single use towel.
  • Use towel to turn off faucet.
  • Your hands are now safe.

how to handwash

 

Please remember:

Take care of your hands by regularly (preferably daily) using a protective and caring hand cream or lotion.

It’s best to not use hot water to rinse your hands, because it doesn’t kill more germs than cool water.

After handwashing or handrubbing, let your hands dry completely before putting on any sorts of gloves.

Do not wear nail polish, artificial fingernails or nail-extenders when you come in direct contact with patients. And try to keep your nails short, so there will be less accumulation of dirt underneath.

 

When?

These are the 5 moments for your hand hygiene:

  • Before touching a patient: to protect the patient against colonization and, in some cases, against exogenous infection, by harmful germs carried on your hands.
  • Before cleaning (/ aseptic) procedures: to protect the patient against infection with harmful germs, including his or her own germs, entering his or her body.
  • After body fluid exposure risk: to protect you from colonization or infection with patient’s harmful germs and to protect the health-care environment from germ spread.
  • After touching a patient: to protect you from colonization with patients germs and to protect the health-care environment from germ spread.
  • After touching a patients surroundings: to protect you from colonization with patient germs that may be present on surface / object in patient surroundings and to protect the health-care environment against germ spread.

5 moments hand hygiene

 

Word Explanations

Alcohol-based formulation An alcohol-containing preparation (liquid, gel or foam) designed for application to the hands for hygienic hand antisepsis.
Body fluids Blood; excretions like vomit, urine, faeces;   secretions like tears, sperm, colostrum, milk, mucous secretions, saliva, vernix, wax; exudates and transudates like lymphatic, pleural fluid cerebrospinal fluid, ascites fluid, articular fluid, pus; organic samples like tissues, cells, organ, bone marrow, placenta.
Clean / asceptic procedure Any care activity that implies a direct or indirect contact with a mucous membrane, non-intact skin, an invasive medial device. During such a procedure no germs should be transmitted.
Critical site Critical sites are associated with risk for a possible infection. They either correspond to body sites or medical devices that have to be protected against harmful germs, or body sites or medical devices that potentially lead to hand exposure to body fluids and blood borne pathogens.
Hand care Actions to prevent a irritation of the skin.
Hand hygiene Any action of hygienic hand antisepsis in order to reduce transient microbial flora. These are generally performed either by hand rubbing with an alcohol-based formulation or hand washing with plain or antimicrobial soap and water.
Indication for hand hygienic Moment during health care when hand hygienic must be performed to prevent harmful germ transmission and / or infection.
Invasive medical device Any medical device that enters the bode either through a body opening or through a skin or mucous membrane breaking.