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Cleaning Your Hands

Several useful videos are readily available on the Internet that offer instruction on proper hand hygiene techniques using both soap and water and hand sanitizers.

Common myths and facts about hand hygiene (adapted from the CDC Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in Health Care Settings)

Myth:    Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are less effective than soap and water.
Fact:     Alcohol-based hand rubs are more effective at cleaning the hands of health care workers than soap or anti-microbial soaps. They kill a variety of pathogens, including multidrug-resistant pathogens (e.g., MRSA and VRE) and many fungi and viruses (e.g., influenza, HIV and the Hepatitis B virus). However, alcohol-based hand rubs are less effective than soap and water against certain organisms (e.g., C. difficile, Cryptosporidium).

Myth:    As long as health care workers wear gloves, they cannot transmit diseases.
Fact:     Hand hygiene is required even when gloves are used or changed. If a glove gets punctured, pathogens on the hands can pass through it easily. If health care workers wear the same pair of gloves from one patient contact to another, pathogens can be transmitted among patients. That’s why health care workers should frequently change gloves between patient contacts and should perform hand cleaning/sanitizing after each glove removal.

Myth:    If a health care worker feels dryness and irritation on his/her hands as a result of frequent hand washing, he or she may be excused from performing proper hand hygiene. 
Fact:     It is essential for the health of patients and health care workers that every health care worker performs proper hand hygiene. Most alcohol-based hand rubs incorporate a moisturizing lotion to prevent dryness. Frequent use of hand lotions and creams will also help curb hand dryness. Health care workers with advanced skin conditions should seek medical advice from their physician. 

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WIPES Reduces Transmission

wipesImproved hand-hygiene at The Johns Hopkins Hospital has led to reduced transmission of MRSA and VRE. Read the story.

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