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Hand Hygiene Rules Everyone Should Know

By now, you probably know the importance of hand hygiene for disease and germ control. Knowing this information is one thing, but putting it into action is something different entirely. In order to ensure that your hands and the hands of people around you are in tip-top shape, check out the guide below. Here are some hand hygiene rules that everyone should know.

The Right Time to Wash Your Hands

There is no "wrong" time to wash your hands, but there are some "right" times that you need to keep in mind. These include:

•    Times before, during, or after food preparation
•    Right before eating and right after eating
•    Before, during, and after caring for someone who is ill or contagious
•    After using the restroom
•    Any time you touch the garbage
•    Before and after caring for a wound
•    After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose

These are general guidelines, but there may be other instances related to your work or day to day activities that would merit washing your hands more often than that. For instance, if you work in a delivery position, you may spend a lot of time grabbing door handles. It would be best to wash or sanitize your hands after this to keep germ levels low.

The Right Way to Wash Your Hands

Running soapy water on your hands isn’t the same as thoroughly cleaning them. In order to get the most out of each hand washing experience, you need to wet your hands down with clean running water. Then add soap to your palms, and rub them together to create a lather. Scrub the back of your hands, in between your fingers, on top of your knuckles, and underneath your nails to get your hands as clean as possible. Continue scrubbing for about 20 seconds (you can use the Alphabet Song as a general guideline for time). Rinse your hands off with water and dry them using a paper towel.

Who Should Wash Their Hands?

Everyone. This seems like a vague statement, but the fact is that proper hand hygiene is important in any workplace. Some workers may require more hand washing than others, like those who are employed in the food or healthcare industries. Nevertheless, you can benefit from applying these principles to your job no matter where it is you work.

What to Do When Soap and Water Aren’t Available

If you do not have access to soap and water to rinse your hands, you can use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Apply a small amount of sanitizer to the palm of your hand, and rub your hands together just like you would soap. Hold your hands apart to let them air dry once you have covered them well with the sanitizer. That should eliminate most of the surface germs. It is still ideal to clean your hands with soap where possible because that can break up dirt and grime that may stick around on the surface. Think about all of this as you progress through the day, and you will be able to keep your hands clean and healthy.

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