Clean hands are important always. Regular and thorough hand washing helps stop the spread disease and can help keep you from getting sick. But while in a healthcare facility it’s especially important to keep your hands clean. According to the CDC, clean hands can protect you from serious infections while you are a patient in a healthcare facility.
Why specifically while in a healthcare facility you ask? A lot of germs that cause serious infections in are spread by people’s actions. Hand hygiene can help prevent the spread of diseases and prevent infections. The CDC says, every patient is at risk of getting an infection while they are being treated for something else. Preventing the spread of germs is especially important in hospitals and other facilities such as dialysis centers and nursing homes.
Hand Sanitizer Myths/Truths
Everyone should know the truth about hand hygiene and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Did you know alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills most of the bad germs that make you sick and is the preferred way to clean your hands in healthcare setting? BUT, alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not kill every disease including the Clostridium difficile Infection (also known as C. difficile), a common healthcare-associated infection that causes severe diarrhea. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are more effective and less drying than using soap and water, and does not create antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
Soap and Water Myths/Truths
Hand washing with soap is substantially more effective at cleaning your hands than hand washing with water alone. Rinsing hands with water is preferable to not hand washing at all, but hand washing with soap is more effective in removing dirt and germs from hands. Research has found that while use of water alone does help reduce the risk of diarrhea, use of soap is substantially more effective and has caused a decline in the spread of germs.
Hand Hygiene and Your Healthcare Provider
Hand hygiene should be a topic of conversation between healthcare providers and patients. If your healthcare provider does not shake your hand upon greeting, it is generally because they do not want to spread germs, so don’t take it personally. Your healthcare provider is just looking out for you. Patients and their visitors can protect themselves by cleaning their own hands often as well.
Still have questions about hand hygiene? Bring it up next time you see your doctor. They may be able to give you even more tips.