What is hand hygiene?
Hand hygiene refers to cleaning your hands, either using soap and water or a waterless hand sanitizer.
Why is hand hygiene important?
Illness causing organisms can survive for days on contaminated surfaces or items. Hands are easily contaminated through touching these surfaces or items and the illness causing organisms are introduced into the body through touching the eyes, nose or mouth or through eating.
When do I need to perform hand hygiene?
Hand hygiene should be performed in the following instances:
- after personal care (i.e. blowing your nose, using the washroom)
- after assisting another with personal care
- before preparing or eating food
- after touching potentially contaminated surfaces (i.e. any surface, linen or items used by someone who is ill, or any surface/item touched by many people, such as a grocery cart, etc)
Health care workers have other instances (in addition to the above) where they should perform hand hygiene:
- before and after any client contact
- before and after putting on/removing gloves
- after any contact with potentially contaminated materials or surfaces