Safe & Sound


Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics. On any given day, about one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection. It is also critical to prevent laboratory acquired infections (LAIs). Hand hygiene is achieved either by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or by rubbing an alcohol based hand rub onto your hands until they are dry.

The CDC Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health care Settings recommends:

  • When cleaning your hands with soap and water, wet your hands first with water, apply the amount of product recommended by the manufacturer to your hands, and rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, covering all surfaces of the hands, fingers and wrists. Make sure that you clean between fingers and under nails.
  • Rinse your hands with water and use disposable towels to dry. Use the towel to turn off the faucet.
  • Avoid using hot water, to prevent drying of skin.

Remember, wearing gloves is not a substitute for hand hygiene. Dirty gloves can soil hands.

  • Always clean your hands after removing gloves.
  • Steps for glove use:
    1. Choose the right size and type of gloves for the task
    2. Put on gloves before touching potentially infectious or hazardous material.
    3. Change gloves regularly as integrity wanes with time
    4. Remove gloves after contact with hazardous materials, using proper aseptic technique to prevent hand contamination
    5. Do not reuse the same pair of disposable or single use gloves

For more information on World Hand Hygiene Day click here.