Germs and viruses such as the COVID-19 Coronavirus are spread easily. However, it only takes approximately 20 seconds to prevent that spread by washing your hands correctly.
Practicing good hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections and the spread of germs and disease, according to Faith Needleman, MSN, RN, Director of Quality at SMC.
Healthcare providers should wash their hands with soap and water, antiseptic hand wash, alcohol-based hand sanitizer foam or gel, or surgical hand antisepsis several times a day.
Wash with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- – Immediately before touching a patient.
- – Before performing an aseptic task such as placing an indwelling device or handling invasive medical devices.
- – Before moving from work on a soiled body site to a clean body site on the same patient.
- – After touching a patient or the patient’s immediate environment.
- – After contact with blood, body fluids or contaminated surfaces.
- – Immediately after glove removal.
Wash with soap and water:
- – When hands are visibly soiled.
- – After caring for a person with known or suspected infectious diarrhea.
- – After known or suspected exposure to spores such as B anthracis or C difficile outbreaks.
In addition to hand hygiene, gloves should be worn when it can be reasonably anticipated that contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials, mucous membranes, non-intact skin, potentially contaminated skin or contaminated equipment could occur.
Gloves are not a substitute for hand hygiene. Perform hand hygiene prior to donning gloves, before touching the patient or the patient environment, and immediately after removing gloves.
Gloves should be changed, and hand hygiene performed if gloves become damaged, become visibly soiled with blood or body fluids following a task, and when moving from work on a soiled body site to a clean body site on the same patient.
Never wear the same pair of gloves in the care of more than one patient, and always removed gloves carefully to prevent hand contamination.