Washing Hands

Get the Facts on Hand Hygiene

Did You Know …

  • We have between 2 and 10 million bacteria between our fingertips and elbows (not all bad!)
  • Damp hands spread 1,000 times more germs than dry hands
  • The number of germs on your fingertips double after you use the rest room
  • Germs can stay alive on hands for up to three hours
  • Millions of germs hide under watches, rings and bracelets


What is hand hygiene?

Hand hygiene is a general term that applies to routine hand washing and antiseptic hand wash, and it is the single most important way to stop the transmission of disease from one person to another. While hand soaps may not kill all viruses and bacteria, thorough hand washing will decrease viruses to stay below infection thresholds. Remember, remove all hand and arm jewelry before washing. Rub together all surfaces of pre-moistened lathered hands and fingers for 15 seconds and then follow by rinsing with cool or tepid water. Hands should always be dried thoroughly and before applying gloves.

What are the different methods for performing hand hygiene?

Method

Product

Purpose

Area of Coverage

Duration
(minimum)

Routine Hand Wash Water and non-antimicrobial soap (i.e., plain soap) Remove soil and transient microorganisms All surfaces of the hands and fingers 15 seconds
Antiseptic/Antibacterial Hand Wash Water and antimicrobial soap (e.g., chlorhexidine, iodine and iodophors, chloroxylenol [PCMX], triclosan) Remove or destroy transient microorganisms All surfaces of the hands and fingers 15 seconds
Antiseptic Hand Sanitizers Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizers Remove or destroy transient microorganisms All surfaces of the hands and fingers Until the hands are dry
Surgical Antisepsis Water and antimicrobial soap (e.g., chlorhexidine, iodine and iodophors, chloroxylenol [PCMX], triclosan) Remove or destroy transient microorganisms Hands and forearms6 2–6 minutes

 

Do hand lotions affect skin integrity?

Lotions are often recommended to ease dryness resulting from frequent hand washing and more Hand Washingrecently to prevent dermatitis resulting from frequent glove use. Petroleum-based lotion formulas can weaken latex gloves and increase permeability. The potential of detergents to cause skin irritation varies, but can be reduced by adding emollients. Lotions that contain petroleum or other oil emollients should only be used at the end of the workday. If using lotions during the workday, select a water-based formula.

How should hand care products be stored?

Hand care products, including plain (non-antimicrobial/antibacterial) soap, become contaminated over time and support the growth of microorganisms. Pathogenic organisms are found on and around bar soaps during and after use. Hand soap should not be added to a partially empty dispenser, because “topping off” a dispenser leads to bacterial contamination of soap. Liquid products should be stored in closed containers and dispensed from disposable containers or containers that are washed and dried thoroughly before refilling. A preferred storing system for a liquid or foam hand soap is a dispenser with hands-free or “touchless” controls that dispense the product.

Have any questions? Contact us at welisten@betco.com.

2 thoughts on “Get the Facts on Hand Hygiene

  1. Anna Smith

    Use of hand in doing many things in our day today life, so keep hand proper hygiene. While eating food, some germs or bacteria enter into body, if hands are not proper hygiene.

    Reply
    1. BetcoMarketing

      Anna,

      You are right! Illness and germs can easily be prevented from entering the body if one practices correct hand hygiene. It is very important for a healthy lifestyle.

      Reply

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