Cleaning your hands regularly is the best way to prevent the spread of germs that cause infection. Unless your hands look dirty, you can clean them easily using the hand sanitizer provided in the halls, in patient rooms, and several other spots throughout the hospital.
Alcohol-based sanitizers are a highly effective way to clean your hands when soap and water is not available. Apply and rub on hands until it evaporates.
If your hands look dirty or you have used the washroom, it is better to wash them with soap and water. It is important to wash carefully. Turn on the taps and get your hands wet. With the water running, put soap on your hands and rub the soap all over your hands and wrists. Be sure to wash your thumbs and in between your fingers. Then rinse off the soap under the running water. Don’t turn off the taps until you dry your hands with paper towel, and then use the towel to turn off the taps, so you don’t get germs on your hands again.
Clean your hands before:
- visiting a patient (even if you are also a patient)
- handling or eating food or feeding others
- inserting or removing contact lenses
- treating wounds or cuts or changing a bandage
Clean your hands after:
- visiting a patient
- being near a person or a person’s room who has a cold or flu or any other illness
- going to the toilet or changing a diaper
- blowing your nose or wiping a child's nose
- coughing or sneezing
All hospital staff treating patients are to clean their hands before and after contact with every patient. It’s okay to ask your health provider to wash their hands before they treat you.