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Hand Hygiene Facts You Should Know

Good personal hygiene plays a major part in reducing and eliminating the spread of germs and infections from person-to-person. It also helps in reducing the spread of infectious illnesses, including colds, flu and other upper respiratory illnesses. A big part of personal hygiene is hand hygiene and incorporating safety measures in developing habits that will stave off illnesses can help to further reduce the spread of germs and infections.

The Importance of Hand Washing

Hand washing is simple, yet underestimated in its effect in reducing germs transference. The Center for Disease Control supports this frequently overlooked habit as the single most important thing that can be done to reduce episodes of getting sick and spreading illnesses.

  • Why it is important: Details the reasons why hand washing is important and how it helps in reducing the spread of germs.
  • All instances: Looks at the importance of hand washing in most all cases including food safety and around animals.
  • Sing-A-Long: An interactive video that stresses the importance of hand washing.

The Center for Disease Control Guidelines

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) introduces comprehensive guidelines which outline critical hygienic areas including their scientific data to support hand hygiene, the impact of skin flora and the transference of pathogens from a person's hand to other contact with other things.

  • CDC Guidelines: Includes data and research to support the importance of cleanliness, beginning with the hands.

Hand Washing Methods

There are several methods for washing hands for optimal results. In addition to washing them thoroughly with warm water and soap, it is also important to thoroughly dry them so as not to further increase chances of transferring germs or other allergens.

  • Effective Methods: Discusses the method of washing with soap and drying them for a certain period of time.
  • Alcohol Method: Details the method of hand washing that includes alcohol-based solutions

The Best Time to Wash

The best time to wash would be after any of the following: 1) If you've been exposed to germs via someone coughing or sneezing, 2) If you're in health care and need to wash frequently to reduce your exposure to germs, 3) If you're handling raw meat or other substances that can transfer bacteria, 4) After using the restroom, touching doorknobs or handles on doors. Although there are many situations that warrant the need to frequently wash hands, there are also other times when it may not be so obvious, but may be necessary.

  • Time to wash: Gives a detail of the ideal times to practice good hand washing.
  • Washing Times: Offers best times and practices on hand washing.

Gloves and Hand Hygiene

Gloves are used in proper hand hygiene to further eliminate the possibility of spreading germs and coming into contact with other infectious agents. Proper usage of gloves in hand hygiene work alongside other methods of hand hygiene to ensure full control of all surroundings.

  • Usage: Discusses the proper usage of gloves in hand hygiene.
  • Gloves Guide: A how-to guide in improving health care conditions with the use of gloves.

Alcohol Solutions

Alcohol-based hand rubs are also an effective mechanism for reducing the spread of germs. These preparations usually contain anywhere from 60-95 percent ethanol or isopropanol alcohol and is designed to reduce microorganisms found on the hand.     

  • Alcohol: Gives the terminology and definitions on alcohol-based agents and their effects.

Nail Hygiene

Nail hygiene is important as well in practicing good hand hygiene. The skin underneath the fingernails can host a myriad of bacteria and germs, therefore necessitating the need to have good practices when using, handling or dealing with anything involving the fingernails.

  • Healthy Nails: Discusses how to recognize nail medical issues and what to do to have good nail hygiene.
  • Practices: Discusses the best practices for hand and nail hygiene.

Laws Regarding Hand Hygiene

Laws vary from locale to locale regarding hand hygiene, although many of them are the same in many areas.

  • State Laws: Discusses the hand hygiene laws for the State of New York
  • Public Health: Discusses infectious diseases and the role that hand hygiene plays.

Kids and Good Hygiene

In schools, almost 22 million days alone are lost as a result of the common cold, with over 52.2 million cases of it yearly affecting those under the age of 17. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) also report that most viruses and bacteria can live on surfaces like doorknobs, desks and tables anywhere from 20 minutes up to two hours.

  • Kids: The importance of hand washing in kids.

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