Handwashing — the most effective means of preventing the spread of
Handwashing is the single most effective means of preventing the spread of
infection. Good skin care after handwashing is equally important.
It is essential that caretaker staff practice good handwashing skills and teach
residents and program participants these skills, providing supervision and
assistance when necessary.
Although handwashing is a task usually performed without much thought, here is a
review of the proper way to wash one’s hands.
Wet hands. Using a generous amount of soap, work up a lather. This will help
lift bacteria from the hands.
Wash for a minimum of 10 seconds. Pay special attention to the areas around the
nails, between the fingers and the backs of the hands.
Pointing the fingers down towards the sink, rinse well with warm, running water.
Dry with disposable paper towels. Then use the towel to turn off the water. This
protects hands from being contaminated by dirty fixtures.
Use dry skin lotion if hands are rough or dry. Cover any open areas with a
Rough, irritated skin makes thorough cleansing more difficult, while open areas
put a person at risk for acquiring infections.
To prevent dry, chapped skin, use hand lotion as needed. A pump dispenser will
help prevent transmission of disease.
Extracted from “Staff Guide to Control of Infectious Disease”, which is
published by The Arc of the United States.