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Hand Hygiene and Other Basics Key to Preventing and Containing Flu


Updated August 19, 2013

Hand Hygiene and Other Basics Key to Preventing and Containing Flu

Hand hygiene and good infection control practices in nursing homes and other care settings can go a long way in helping contain germs and disease. Deborah Leader, RN, About.com Guide for COPD offers some great tips.

  • Practice good hand hygiene which includes hand washing with soap and water and using an alcohol based hand-sanitizer in between washings.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people by staying away from congested crowds or from anyone who is sick.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze with a tissue. Throw the tissue away promptly and then wash or sanitize your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth as germs are easily transmitted through mucus membranes.
  • Stay home from work if you get sick. This helps to keep the virus from spreading to others.

Teach Your Staff Proper Hand Washing

  1. Wet your hands using warm, running water. Add soap.
  2. During the hand washing process, rub your hands vigorously for a minimum of 20 seconds, paying special attention to the backs of your hands, wrists, in between your fingers and underneath your fingernails.
  3. Rinse well while leaving the water running.
  4. With the water continuing to run, use a single-use towel and pat your hands dry.
  5. Turn off the water faucet using the paper towel covering your clean hands to prevent recontamination.

Have Fun with Hygiene

Make hygiene and infection control fun and it will reinforce the messages you want to convey and help staff to develop lasting habits. One hospital in N.C. has won awards for its hand hygiene program. Novant Health feels so strongly about hand hygiene and improving the quality and safety of patient care, it makes its resources available free of charge to other organizations. Find easily downloadable marketing materials at their site.

And as they correctly state - "Keep in mind that results can be achieved only by changing the culture of your organization and making people accountable for their behavior. It starts at the top and requires everyone's support

Photo © Keith Brofsky, Getty Images

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