Clean Hands, Healthy Hands

By Elizabeth Andreas posted 04-15-2021 06:00 AM


Clean Hands, Healthy Hands

Did you know that handwashing can help save lives?

By Brenda Kozak, MSN, RN | April 15, 2021

Handwashing is not only a healthy thing to do, it is recognized by the Centers for Disease Control as the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others from getting sick. 

We have all heard the phrase “sing Happy Birthday twice” while washing your hands for how long to wash, but when should we wash our hands?

Many of us have a pet at home, it is recommended to wash hands after handling animals, their food, and pet waste. Other scenarios that require handwashing include before and after eating, after using the bathroom, or when caring for a sick family member. In the healthcare setting, there are many opportunities for handwashing, such as before and after patient care. It is essential to observe frequent and proper technique for handwashing to minimize transfer of germs between patients and staff.

What else is important to know about handwashing?

Popular questions include what type of method should be used when cleaning hands? Is using soap and water or alcohol-based rubs better for you? The answer is, that depends! If hands are visibly dirty, have chemicals on them, or with certain types of bacteria, soap and water is a good option. If soap and water are not available or practical, using a hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol is the best option.

Find out more beneficial information on handwashing with our newly updated course: Hand Hygiene: Basic Principles and Competency.

About the author:

Brenda Kozak, MSN, RN, has over 17 years of clinical nursing experience in a variety of healthcare settings. She has a Master’s degree in nursing with a focus on education, and has experience in teaching in clinical and academic settings. Brenda currently is pursuing her doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) from the Northern Illinois University.

Learn about hand washing technique and earn CEs!

Fits Like a Glove: Hand Hygiene with Glove Use (1.0 CE for Nurses)

Hand hygiene doesn't stop with hand washing.

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Personal Protective Equipment (1.5 CE for Nurses)

Hand hygiene and appropriate PPE protect you and prevent the spread of infection.

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Hand Hygiene and Skin Care for Healthcare Assistants (0.25 CE)

Keep your skin healthy in a challenging and dynamic environment.

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