Tips for good hand hygiene

Handwashing still

We may be looking forwards to the tantalising prospect of milder weather, but so are the bugs and germs that thrive in warmer conditions.  With this in mind the Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Groups are encouraging people to wash their hands the way healthcare professionals do.

Many people won’t be aware that hands are still one of the biggest spreaders of germs in the UK.  However, hand washing with soap and warm water is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of germs and infections.  In addition, studies have demonstrated that hand washing lowers the transmission of diarrhoea and colds.

Therefore, the Lincolnshire CCGs are asking everyone to wash their hands properly, with warm water and soap, to help prevent the spread of germs, and they are reminding people that hands should be washed after every trip to the toilet and before and after preparing food.

The most effective way to wash your hands, and the method healthcare professionals follow is:

  1. Wet hands
  2. Apply enough handwash to cover all hand surfaces
  3. Rub hands palm to palm
  4. Right palm over the other hand with interlaced fingers and vice versa
  5. Palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  6. Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
  7. Left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
  8. Rub clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa
  9. Rinse hands thoroughly
  10. Dry thoroughly.

It is particularly important to wash your hands properly if you are visiting hospitals, clinics or surgeries, by using warm water and soap or a hand gel, since this can help to reduce the spread of infections including MRSA and Clostridium difficile, as well as norovirus.  If you are visiting patients you should always make sure your hands are cleaned before entering or leaving a clinical area or ward.

Dr Kevin Hill, GP commented:

“The importance of good hand hygiene is something we all learn from a very early age and there’s no excuse for not practising it.  Yet we all see examples on a daily basis of people not practising good hand hygiene.  We want people to understand the difference good hand hygiene can make, not least of which is helping to prevent the spread of hospital infections like MRSA and Clostridium difficile, but also things like flu and stomach bugs.”

For more information, including a video showing how to wash your hands properly click here

Published 17/02/2020