Hand hygiene

Everyone, everywhere benefits from good hand hygiene practices. Whether it is traditional hand washing with soap and water or using hand sanitizers, good hand hygiene is the single most important procedure for preventing the spread of germs and infections.

Additionally, incorporating hand hygiene education in daily child care activities will encourage children to learn and observe proper hand hygiene techniques.

What is hand hygiene?

Hand hygiene is the action of cleaning your hands. It relates to the removal or killing of micro-organisms from the hands while maintaining good skin integrity.

Two methods of hand hygiene

Hand washing

Hands are washed with soap and running water when hands are visibly soiled. Liquid soap is preferred and it does not need to be anti-bacterial. Bar soap should not be used in child care settings. If hands are visibly soiled and running water is not available, then a moistened towelette or wipe should be used followed by hand sanitizer (alcohol-based had rub).

Hand washing - Children (poster)

When to wash your hands - Children(poster)

Hand washing poster - Adults

Hand sanitizer (alcohol-based hand rub)

Alcohol-based hand rub (hand sanitizer) is the preferred hygiene choice when hands are not visibly soiled. The product needs to have a D.I.N (Drug Identification Number) or N.P.N (Natural Product Number) and have an alcohol content of at least 60%.

How to correctly use hand sanitizer (poster)

Other hygiene tools

Glove use

Gloves are an example of personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not a substitute for proper hand hygiene. They should be used for direct contact with any body fluid, for handling items soiled with body fluids or when the wearer has open cuts or lesions on the hands. Hand hygiene must be performed before and after glove use. Gloves are task-specific and should never be reused.

Disposable wipes

Disposable wipes are a single-use wet cloth or tissue intended to remove dirt or other materials from the skin. They are often used for diaper changing because of their convenience. If hands are visibly soiled and running water isn’t available, use disposable wipes to remove visible soil from your skin and follow up by using hand sanitizer.

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