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This information has been translated into other languages – see the links at the bottom of this page.
Cleaning your hands (also called hand hygiene) is one of the best ways you can stop germs from spreading. The main way germs spread is by our hands. You can pick up germs almost everywhere, including phones, doorknobs, and railings. You can spread these germs through a hospital, clinic, or other healthcare facility without even knowing it.
Your hands may look clean, but they can still have germs that cause infections. When you forget to clean your hands or don’t clean them well, you can spread germs to other people. You can also spread germs to yourself if your hands aren’t clean and you touch your eyes, mouth, nose, or a cut on your body.
It’s important to encourage your family members, visitors, and healthcare team to clean their hands whenever they visit you or help you with your care. Help stop the spread of germs that cause infections in healthcare facilities.
Always clean your hands:
You can use hand sanitizer (an alcohol-based hand rub) or soap and water to clean your hands.
Hand sanitizer is best to use when:
Follow these steps to clean your hands with hand sanitizer:
Soap and water is best to use:
Follow these steps to clean your hands with soap and water:
Your healthcare team follows the “4 Moments for Hand Hygiene” when they care for you. They will clean their hands:
If you don’t see a member of your healthcare team clean their hands, you can say, “I didn’t see you clean your hands, would you mind cleaning them?” Your healthcare team welcomes your questions.
Please remind visitors to clean their hands too, so germs don’t get into your room.
By keeping our hands clean, we can all create a safer environment.
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=custom.ab_handhygiene_inst.
Current as of: November 30, 2020
Author: Infection Prevention and Control, Alberta Health Services
Care instructions may be adapted by your healthcare provider. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider.