Handwashing: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

It is important for caregivers to wash their hands properly. This is the single best way to prevent the spread of infections. Handwashing can help keep you from getting sick. It is easy, doesn't cost much, and it works.

Make sure that you and your caregivers follow safe handwashing routines. Caregivers may include health care workers or family members at home or in a care facility. You can talk to them about this information on handwashing.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Caregivers should wash their hands with soap and water:
    • When their hands are dirty, especially after being exposed to body fluids. This includes blood.
    • When their hands may have been exposed to germs that could spread infection.
    • After they touch broken skin, sores, or wound bandages.
    • After they use the washroom.
  • At other times, caregivers can use an alcohol-based gel sanitizer or soap and water to clean hands. This should be done:
    • Before and after any contact with you.
    • After they take off gloves.
    • Before they handle a device that touches your body (even if gloves are used).
    • After they touch any objects near you, such as medical equipment, lights, or doorknobs.
    • Before they handle medicine or prepare food.

Proper handwashing for caregivers

  • When using an alcohol-based gel sanitizer, fill your palm with the gel. Then spread it all over your hands. Rub your hands together until they are dry.
  • When washing hands with soap and water:
    • Get your hands wet. Then use enough soap to cover your whole hands.
    • Rub your hands together hard, in a circle. Be sure that you cover all surfaces. Rub your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Wash your hands for at least 30 seconds.
    • Rinse your hands with water. But don't use hot water. It may irritate your hands.
    • Use a paper towel to hold the faucet handle when you turn off the water.
    • Dry your hands well with a paper towel. Don't use towels that have been used by others or used more than once.
  • If you use bar soap, use small bars. Set the soap on a rack that lets water drain.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: May 24, 2016