Handwashing Tips for Health-Care Workers

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You do it before you sit down to eat, before you hold the baby, and after you’ve been playing in the dirt. You wash your hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hand washing is one of the most important things we can do to stop the spread of germs and to avoid getting sick. Many diseases and germs are transmitted by not washing hands. This is especially true if you are a health-care professional. Whether you’re a doctor, nurse or ambulance driver, anyone who comes into regular contact with people that are ill or injured must protect themselves. The surest way to do so is by washing their hands. At Workman’s Friend, we admire all the professionals whose job it is to save and improve the lives of others. It is for that reason that we’ve put together a list of tips and suggestions about how to improve your handwashing techniques.

What is hand hygiene?

The CDC says when cleaning your hands you first need to start with water. Make sure the palms of your hands and fingers are damp before applying a layer of soap. Work the soap into a lather by rubbing your, hands vigorously together for 15 seconds.  They suggest humming the ‘Happy Birthday’ song from start to finish twice. There is no need to use an anti-bacterial formulation as all soaps are equally effective at removing germs and bacteria. Then thoroughly rinse your hands with warm water, not hot water because that will dry your skin. Use a paper towel to dry your hands and the same towel to turn off the faucet.  Remember to dry under any rings or jewelry on your hands as they can be source of future contamination if they remain moist.

Washing your hands remains the best way to disinfect and stop the spread of germs. However, in places where there isn’t water and soap available, an alternative is hand sanitizer. Available in bottles or dispensers you often see affixed to the wall, make sure you’re using one that has at least 60% alcohol. Anything less is ineffective. Remember, hand sanitizer does not remove all germs and bacteria. The best way to use it is spray it on your hands and rub them together.

Why practice hand hygiene?

Hospital infections affect almost 2 million people every year in the U.S., of those almost 100,000 people die as a result. It is estimated that almost 70% of those infections could be avoided if health-care workers followed the proper rules and regulations which include hand washing.

If you’re asking why don’t more health-care workers practice proper hand hygiene? The answer varies. In some health-care settings sinks, foam soap, or hand sanitizer, aren’t located in convenient locations. In other cases, people go to wash their hands only to realize there’s no soap in the dispenser or paper towel to dry their hands. They may be worried the regular use of soap and water might be drying to their hands. Or they may still have not gotten the message about the importance of it. One of the most surprising reasons that health professionals avoid washing their hands is that they’ve never washed their hands before so why start now?  

When should you wash your hands?

It may seem like a dumb question: when do you need to wash your hands? Whether you’ve tended to a wound, performed an X-ray, or simply done a throat swab; anytime you’ve come into contact with a patient or a piece of equipment you need to wash your hands before and after-period.

Clean hands

It’s any easy and straightforward task washing your hands. Yet so many health-care professionals still don’t do it properly or often enough. It’s more than the smart or the hygienic thing to do it’s also about protecting yourself and your patients from germs and potential life-threatening diseases. Now grab that soap and get washing!


Workman’s Friend Barrier Skin Cream is a light-weight and odorless hand cream perfect for any health-care professional. A simple application of our heavy-duty formula will keep your hands moisturized wash after wash for up to four hours. Check out our website at www.workmansfriendbrand.com


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