Home > Foot, Hand & Nail Hygiene > Hand Washing

Hand Washing

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 18 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Hand Washing; Germs; Infection;

Hand washing is one of the most important hygiene principles in the prevention of infection.By employing good hand washing techniques many disorders can be avoided such as food poisoning wound infections, and maintaining the general health of hands and nails.

Good Hand Washing Techniques

An effective hand wash needs nothing more than warm water, soap and a clean dry towel.This should be enough to remove most household germs and restore the hands back to being ‘clean’.

To ensure a hand wash is effective, the hands should firstly be moistened with warm water followed by the application of some soap. There are many anti-bacterial preparations available but in most instances, a general soap will be sufficient. Using a repetitive motion the palms, fingers, wrists and back of the hands should be cleansed, with special attention to the nails and nail beds as these are areas that are frequently missed and can harbour the most germs due to the anatomical structure.

The soap should be rinsed off using clean water and hands should be dried thoroughly using a clean dry towel. If the towel is not clean it may be the perfect source of bacterial growth and can transfer dangerous germs back onto the hands.

Attention should also be given to the cleanliness of the taps, toilet flushes and light fittings as these will probably all have been touched by contaminated hands. These areas should be cleaned regularly as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Special Circumstances

Hand washing principles should be more rigorously attended to in the following circumstances: before and after changing a plaster or wound covering, before and after entering a hospital whether as a patient or as a visitor, before and after attending food, before and after attending to a newborn infant, especially at feed times and when attending to nappy changes or umbilical cord care, after visiting the toilet, when hands are visibly dirty and after handling animals.

Helping Others

Many people may be unable to practice good hand hygiene for themselves and will greatly benefit from assistance from someone else. The elderly, young children and those who are physically unable to, such as after an operation or because of illness may all appreciate someone helping them to achieve good hygiene practices. By making sure water, soap and towels are accessible will help to prevent infections and allow the person to achieve a higher state of body image and cleanliness.

Encouraging children and educating them on the importance of hand washing will hopefully promote good habits that will be adhered to for their whole life. Most parents will be reassured by their children being able to wash their hands properly especially when they are out of the home such as when at school or in public toilets for example.

The importance of hand washing cannot be emphasised enough. The government have invested a lot of money and research into the subject and hope to reduce the occurrence of hospital infections by educating the public on this simple activity. Hopefully by promoting good practices in the home, those who are the most vulnerable and susceptible to infections will be more protected and less likely to acquire an infection or complication.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
I am a community nurse supporting an individual with a learning disability. Your resources are excellent and I wondered if you have any information about hygiene in an easy read format. Thank you Katy
Katy - 18-Oct-17 @ 2:28 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Munna
    Re: Washing and Bathing
    Want to know more about the health and heigen.
    19 October 2018
  • Saadallah
    Re: Personal Hygiene and Food Preparation
    Is it allowed to use make-up by the food handlers in the kitchen?
    27 September 2018
  • CiDm
    Re: What is Personal Hygiene?
    hello In 1/2/2014 cure immune serom drag company (CISDC) was registered under registation number 449536 with national id…
    25 September 2018
  • Saffy
    Re: Washing and Bathing
    I personally was looking for the benefits of personal hygiene and why it is important to shower and bath daily... But I mean this has been…
    4 June 2018
  • AngeG
    Re: Combating Itchy Ears
    @Racquelle - wheat is evil. I think everyone should cut wheat out for a few weeks, it would cure a lot of problems that people do not even…
    14 May 2018
  • Racquelle
    Re: Combating Itchy Ears
    For me- cure is: Itchy ear - use coconut oil and wet ear stop eating so much wheat. Coconut oil -has been amazing for the itching and if I…
    13 May 2018
  • Sphe
    Re: The Importance of Good Personal Hygiene
    Explain the importance of personal values in keeping a clean living environment
    25 April 2018
  • Broketa
    Re: Hygiene and Hair Loss
    I have trouble wanting to shower and I notice I'm starting to lose more hair, or so I think I am, I have long hair so I'm not entirely sure.
    25 April 2018
  • tris
    Re: The Importance of Good Personal Hygiene
    i tried to use milk but no.difference.now what shall i do.My face is natural.
    29 March 2018
  • brighto
    Re: What is Personal Hygiene?
    Tnxz dear was helpful, appreciation
    26 March 2018