During regular daily activities, hands come in contact with hundreds of surfaces – from opening doors to cooking food, from money exchanges to shaking hands. On each surface live thousands of microscopic organisms, some of which can cause serious illness. Regular hand washing is the most important step to avoid contracting illness or spreading it to others. Scientific research shows that hand washing with soap can significantly reduce the risk of diarrhea and respiratory infection. It is the simplest and most cost-effective way to prevent disease. Particularly in institutional care settings, hand washing is critical to the health of children in care.
Proper hand washing involves 5 main steps:
If soap and clean water aren’t available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be used instead. The hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol. NOTE: Hand sanitizer is not recommended as an alternative to hand washing during food handling.
There are 2 main steps for using hand sanitizer:
Caregivers in institutional settings should wash their hands: