Hand Hygiene 

Keeping your hands clean is the single most important step you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs. It also helps reduce the spread of infections to others and protects you, your family and those around you.

"We were promoting the importance of hand hygiene and washing hands regularly recently in the pharmacy and one of our customers asked me why this was so important."

Hand Hygiene Health Advice - Alphega Pharmacy

The most common way germs, or infections, are spread is by people’s hands. Many illnesses start due to poor hand hygiene.

Germs are often harmless but they can also cause illnesses such as colds, flu and tummy bugs. Salmonella, campylobacter, MRSA, flu, diarrhoea and sickness, the common cold and impetigo are just some of the viruses and infections passed between people who don’t wash their hands.

The Routine of Healthy Hand Hygiene

Hand washing should be part of everyone’s daily routine and you should wash your hands before you:

  • Prepare or eat food
  • Treat a cut or wound
  • Visit someone in hospital.

You should wash your hands after you:

  • Go to the toilet
  • Handle uncooked foods, especially raw meat, poultry or fish
  • Blow your nose, cough or sneeze
  • Touch animals or animal waste
  • Take out or handle rubbish
  • Change a nappy
  • Work or play in the garden
  • Touch a sick or injured person
  • Visit someone in hospital.

It is important that children understand the importance and benefits of washing their hands properly; encouraging children to wash their hands at appropriate times will help to ensure that washing their hands properly becomes a lifelong habit.

Did you know?

  • The number of germs on your fingertips doubles after you use the toilet
  • Up to half of men and a quarter of women don’t wash their hands after they have been to the toilet
  • Germs can stay alive on hands for up to three hours!

A Handy Guide to Washing Your Hands

It takes at least 15 seconds to wash your hands properly.

1.     Wet hand with water

2.     Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces

3.     Rub hands palm to palm

4.     Right palm over the other hand with interlaced fingers and vice versa

5.     Palm to palm with fingers interlaced

6.     Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked

7.     Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right hand and vice versa

8.     Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa

9.     Rinse hands with water

10.  Dry thoroughly with towel.

Frequent hand-washing is the best way to avoid getting sick and spreading illness. Hand-washing requires only soap and water or an alcohol-based hand cleanser. You don’t need water to use alcohol-based cleansers, so they are perfect to carry with you to use when you are out and about.

Your local Alphega pharmacy will stock a range of hand hygiene products, be able to recommend appropriate products as well as giving you advice on hand hygiene.

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