Cleaning our hands (also known as hand hygiene) is one of the best ways we can prevent germs from spreading.
The main way germs spread is through our hands. We can pick up germs almost everywhere, including telephones, doorknobs, and railings. We can spread these germs through a health care facility without even realizing it.
Our hands may look clean, but we can’t see the germs that cause infections. When we forget to clean our hands, or don’t clean them properly, we can spread germs to other people. We can also spread them to ourselves by touching our eyes, mouth, nose, or cuts on our bodies.
It’s important to encourage your family members, visitors, and health care team to clean their hands whenever they come to visit you or help you with your care needs. We can all do our part to prevent germs from spreading and causing infections in our health care facilities.
You can use hand sanitizers (alcohol-based hand rub) or soap and water to clean your hands.
Hand sanitizers are best to use when:
To clean your hands with hand sanitizer:
Soap and water is best to use:
To clean your hands with soap and water:
Your health care team follows the 4 Moments for Hand Hygiene when they care for you.
If you didn’t see your health care team clean their hands and you’re worried, feel free to ask “I didn’t see you clean your hands, would you mind cleaning them?” Your health care team welcomes your questions.
Current as of: February 3, 2017
Author: Infection Prevention & Control Hand Hygiene Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction, or treatment. If you have questions, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider. This information may be printed and distributed without permission for non-profit, education purposes. The content on this page may not be changed without consent of the author. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.