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Epidemiology and Infection Prevention

Give yourself a hand!

The first and most important step in preventing the spread of infection starts with you. Hand hygiene is the easiest and most effective way to prevent the spread of illness and keep you healthy.

What you can do at home:

  • Wash your hands before and after eating or preparing meals.
  • Wash your hands after using the restroom or changing diapers.
  • When washing your hands pay special attention to the areas between your fingers and under fingernails. Germs like to hide here.
  • Wash hands thoroughly for AT LEAST 15 seconds. About as long as it takes to sing yourself Happy Birthday.
  • Alcohol hand sanitizers are very effective in reducing spread of germs and can be used in place of soap and water when hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Teach your children when and how to wash their hands.
  • Regularly clean household items that are touched frequently and can be a source of infection: remotes, light switches, doorknobs, keyboards, refrigerator doors, etc.

What you can do at the hospital:

  • Make sure your Nurses, Doctors and caregivers wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after providing you with care.
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hand. Cover it with a tissue or sneeze/cough into your upper arm.
  • Wash your hands before eating and after using the restroom.
  • When visiting a patient follow all of the hospital policies for infection control. This may include special instructions specific to that patient.
  • Wash your hands or use alcohol hand sanitizer before and after visiting a patient.
  • Do not visit a patient if you have signs and symptoms of illness.

CDC Guidelines for hand washing:

A proper hand washing takes about 15 seconds, about the amount of time it takes to sing the "Alphabet Song" or "Happy Birthday to You."

Good hand washing can be accomplished in five simple steps:

  1. Wet hands with water
  2. Apply hand wash (soap)
  3. Lather and wash for AT LEAST 15 seconds
  4. Rinse both sides of hands with water
  5. Dry hands and shut off faucet with towel

The Infection Prevention Department can be reached at 909.865.9565.