Monday, December 23, 2013

Flu Season Reminder (repost)

How To Wash Your Hands

I know that this might seem elementary, but I learned a few things from my Basic Patient Care class. With Flu season starting to get wound up, this would be a good time to review hand washing procedures.

  • Prepares for handwashing removes jewelry and exposes wrists.
  • Uses paper towel to open faucet to provide continous running water, wets hands, keeps hands lower than elbows.
  • Lathers cleansing agent in hands uses friction, washes wrists, palms,back of hands,fingertips and under nails for at least 15-20 seconds.
  • Rinses under flowing water allowing water to flow down over hands.
  • Use paper towel to dry thoroughly from fingertips to elbows.
  • Turns off faucet with paper towel and disposes of paper towel.
  • Inside of basin avoided at all times.
This is a direct copy from my "comp" sheet that has to be demonstrated. I'll add a few notes from the lecture ( yes, we had a lecture on hand washing ). Be sure that the webbing of your hands are dry when finished washing your hands. Water is an excellent medium for bacteria. The killing of the bacteria/pathogens has more to do with the friction rather than then soap. The underside of the nails is an excellent place for bacteria to hide, so don't neglect them. Open the public bathroom doors with a paper towel - Joe Blow probably didn't wash his hands after doing his "paper work", and this would cancel out any hand washing you've just done. A word about nail polish, as the nail grows, the area between the cuticle and the nail polish is an excellent place for pathogens to hang out. The same goes for clipped chipped nail polish, hence the reason nurses and health care professionals nix the nail polish and long nails.


  1. What about the jewelry?? Seems like putting it back on defeats the careful technique...

  2. Plain bands that don't have a lot of crevasses and spaces for bacteria to hide are about the only proper jewelry that can be worn by hospital staff. Bands can be easily cleaned with Cavi-wipes or other alcohol foam type cleansers. The above technique was for sterile technique for surgery or sterile fields.

    The jewelry mentioned above refereed to watches during our comp.