Just 15 Seconds Can Help Prevent the Spread

Every year, here at Emory Healthcare, we celebrate Hand Washing Awareness week.

The goal of National Hand Washing Awareness Week is to decrease the spread of infectious diseases by empowering individuals through education on the importance of hand washing to help protect their loved ones and communities. By working together we can make a difference!

At each of our facilities, all of our team members practice hand hygiene and we are reminded at almost every turn via signage and educational information just how important hand hygiene is for the health and wellness of our staff, patients, families and visitors.

By definition, hand hygiene is the cleaning of the hands using either soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub. Hand “washing” refers to hand cleaning using soap and water. Hands can become contaminated with bacteria during routine daily activities such as eating, coughing, changing diapers, caring for an ill loved one, or taking out the trash. Hand hygiene doesn’t get rid of all bacteria on the hands, but it can reduce the number of bacteria on the hands and prevent spread of bacteria from one person to another, or prevent the contamination of additional surfaces.

The 6 Rules of Hand Washing:

  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, changing diapers, cleaning up after your pets, or handling money.
  • Wash your hands when they’re dirty.
  • Always wash your hands before eating.
  • Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands.
  • Refrain from putting your fingers in your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid touching people and surfaces with unclean hands.

Proper Hand Washing Technique:

  1. Wet hands with warm water, then use soap (preferably anti-bacterial).
  2. Rub your hands together, making sure to scrub all areas.
    • Be sure to rub for a minimum of 15 seconds, or sing “Happy Birthday” to make hand washing most effective.
  3. Rinse thoroughly, then dry hands on a clean towel.
  4. Finally, be sure and turn faucet off with the towel, not your hands, to prevent re-contamination.

Do you have other tips that help you practice good hand hygiene? If so, share them with us and our readers using the comments field below!

Emory Healthcare

At Emory Healthcare, we’re here to help you find the care you need, when you need it. With more than 2,800 doctors and 300 locations, including 11 hospitals, primary care offices, urgent cares and MinuteClinics, we’re delivering specialized care across the region. Find a doctor near you to help you get and stay healthy.



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