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Proper hand hygiene is the single most important factor in preventing nosocomial infections (infections that occur within the healthcare setting).  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it best when they called hand washing the do-it-yourself vaccine. Proper handwashing is one of the most effective ways to reduce disease transmission. It is always a good idea to review the basic principles of handwashing from time to time. Since flu season is underway, now is a great time to review! The CDC offers 5 simple steps for effective handwashing:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  1. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  1. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  1. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  1. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dryer. Unless you have a hands-free system, remember to use the towel to turn off the water instead of bare hands.

The evidence base concerning the spread of Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAI) continues to prove a link with the natural workflow of care. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified five essential moments when hand hygiene is required during health care delivery:

  • Before touching a patient
  • Before performing a cleaning or aseptic procedure
  • After a body fluid exposure risk
  • After touching a patient
  • After touching patient surroundings

The guidelines are designed to be easy to learn, logical and applicable in a wide range of settings. To read more about the WHO recommendations, visit Research has proven that hand hygiene is a challenge in all health care environments, yet it is the one thing which will consistently reduce the likelihood of spreading infection. Could saving a life could be as simple as washing your hands? Yes! Proper hand hygiene protects workers and patients alike. Visit the CDC promotional page for educational materials for patients and healthcare workers and statewide campaigns. To get a more in-depth training on proper hand hygiene please ask your admin to assign the “Hand Hygiene” course within MedTrainer or if you are not a client yet feel free to email for more information at