Happy national handwashing awareness month! Although handwashing may seem like common sense, 97% of people fail to correctly wash their hands! Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections in healthcare settings. Hand hygiene, which means cleaning your hands by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick and prevent spreading germs to others, especially in the midst of the current ‘tripledemic', with the flu, COVID-19, and RSV circulating simultaneously. The CDC recommends the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers as the primary method for hand hygiene in most healthcare situations. When washing hands, healthcare workers should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water when hands are visibly dirty, before eating, after using the restroom, and after caring for people with infectious diarrhea.
Here’s a quick refresher on how to properly wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Rinse hands under clean, running water.
- Dry hands using a clean towel, or air dry them.