Hand washing is the act of cleaning one’s hands for the purpose of removing soil, dirt, and microorganisms is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of germs and protect yourself and family from getting sick. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community: from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
In developing countries, childhood mortality rates related to respiratory and diarrheal diseases can be reduced by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as hand washing with soap. This simple action can reduce the rate of mortality from these diseases by almost 50%. According to UNICEF, turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit can save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one quarter
Importance of hand hygiene
Thousands of people die every day around the world from infections acquired while receiving healthcare
• Hands are the main pathways of germ transmission during health care
• Hand hygiene is, therefore, the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs and prevent healthcare-associated infection
Indications for hand hygiene
Perform hand hygiene:
• When visibly dirty or visibly soiled with blood or other body fluids or after using the toilet.
• before and after touching the patient ;
• before handling an invasive device for patient care, regardless of whether or not gloves are used ;
• after contact with body fluids or excretions, mucous membranes, non-intact skin, or wound dressings ;
• after contact with inanimate surfaces and objects (including medical equipment) in the immediate vicinity of the patient ;
• after removing sterile (II) or non-sterile gloves;
• Before handling medication or preparing food perform hand hygiene using an alcohol-based hand rub or wash hands with either plain or antimicrobial soap or water.
• If exposure to potential spore-forming pathogens is strongly suspected or proven, including outbreaks of C. difficile.
N.B: Soap and alcohol-based hand rub should not be used concomitantly.