Clean hands are the cure to the spread of colds, the flu, and those illnesses acquired in our schools, offices, restaurants, nursing homes, and hospitals.

For those preparing or serving food, print and post the International Clean Hands Week poster attachment to this blog as a reminder to all.

For the back-to-schoolers consider taking The Pledge of Caring with your schoolmates and posting it in your classroom. Let this year’s celebration of International Clean Hands Week mark the start of having all in your household wash their hands each time they arrive home. Clean hands. Save lives.

What techniques for hand hygiene are there?

Hygienic hand washing, disinfection, and surgical scrub are the three main techniques for hand hygiene.

Currently, hand hygiene is the order of the day. And it has been confirmed as one of the main measures to prevent infections by Covid-19 or other viral diseases.

But there is no single technique for hand hygiene and not all of them fulfill the same function. Therefore, it is important to know what each of them is for.

Next, we review the main techniques for hand hygiene: hygienic washing, disinfection and surgical scrubbing.

Hygienic hand washing

Hygienic hand washing refers to the action of applying soap using the rubbing technique and subsequently rinsing with water.

The main objective of hygienic washing is to remove traces of organic matter or dirt and drag a large number of microorganisms harmful to our health.

What do we need? Neutral pH soap, to guarantee respect with the skin and water. This technique is recommended for anyone.

In this infographic you can see the necessary steps for hygienic hand washing.

In hygienic hand washing it is important to use disposable paper for drying instead of air dryers, as paper reduces microbial contamination by 70%.

Hand disinfection

Covid-19 has triggered the consumption of what we know as hydroalcoholic solutions, which we can find in liquid or gel form, among others.

The hand disinfection technique is used to remove microbes from our hands and, unlike hygienic washing, it does not remove dirt.

Disinfection of hands with hydroalcoholic solutions is recommended as an alternative to hygienic washing in those situations in which we do not have access to soap and water.

What do we need? Only a hydroalcoholic solution, since these products do not require rinsing.

Surgical hand washing

Surgical hand washing is the step prior to donning sterile gloves by healthcare personnel who access the surgical area, with the aim that this area contains the least possible load of microorganisms.

This technique is specially designed for the healthcare field and requires approved and certified products for this purpose.

What do we need? Antiseptic soaps or hydroalcoholic solutions intentionally approved for surgical antisepsis and water for subsequent rinsing.