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Handwashing: 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 advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) 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:
    • Wet your hands with running water, and apply soap.
    • Rub your hands together to make a lather. Scrub well for at least 20 seconds.
    • Pay special attention to your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
    • Rinse your hands well under running water.
    • Use a clean towel to dry your hands, or air-dry your hands. You may want to use a clean towel as a barrier between the faucet and your clean hands when you turn off the water.
  • If you use bar soap, use small bars. Set the soap on a rack that lets water drain.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.