In the United States, hospital patients get nearly 2 million infections each year. That’s about 1 infection for every 20 patients. Infections that patients contract in the hospital can be life-threatening and hard to treat. Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infections.

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before entry and after exit of a patient’s room
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching garbage

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean running water (lukewarm) and apply soap.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, thumbs, and under your nails.
  • Continue rubbing your hands for at least 15 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean paper towel or air dry.
  • Turn off taps with paper towel

Here’s a video that shows you how to wash the right way:

How should you use hand sanitizer?

  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers and thumbs until your hands are dry.

Did you know Sinai Hospital‘s hand hygiene compliance is above the state average and has been for months? Not only has Sinai Hospital stayed above the state average we have also met the State Hand Hygiene Collaborative goal of 90% compliance or above for three months running. Sinai is continuing to display a commitment to excellence by performing and encouraging hand hygiene and helping to prevent the spread of infection.

Download handwashing tips here.

-Written by Faith Hirschbein, Office Coordinator, Infection Prevention and Control, Sinai Hospital, and Jackie Daley, Director Infection Prevention and Control, Sinai Hospital