Greenville Health System (GHS) recently launched its own hand hygiene campaign called Germ Warfare – Join the Battle! The purpose of the campaign is to educate staff, patients and visitors about the importance of practicing good hand hygiene habits and to increase hand hygiene compliance amongst staff by 90% over a three-year period.
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness. In a healthcare setting, hand hygiene can prevent potentially fatal infections from spreading from patient to patient and from patient to healthcare worker and vice versa. Hand hygiene practices are also vital to preventing illness at home, at school and at work.
GHS encourages you to join the battle against germs by following these simple steps:
When washing hands with soap and water:
• Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
• Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
• Continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing "Happy Birthday" twice through to a friend!
• Rinse hands well under running water
• Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet
Watch this hand washing video for an example of good hand hygiene.
When should you wash your hands?
• Before preparing or eating food
• After going to the bathroom
• After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has gone to the bathroom
• Before and after tending to someone who is sick
• After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
• After handling an animal or animal waste
• After handling garbage
• Before and after treating a cut or wound
Remember: If soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based gel to clean hands.
When using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
• Apply product to the palm of one hand
• Rub hands together
• Rub the product over all surfaces of hands and fingers until hands are dry.
What should you do if you are visiting someone in the hospital?
Clean hands before entering and after leaving the patient’s room. It is also okay for you to ask healthcare workers to clean their hands before touching the patient.
For more information on hand hygiene, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website at www.cdc.gov.
National Infection Prevention Week is Oct. 17-23. Check back that week to see the winning “Germ Warfare – Join the Battle!” video created by GHS employees.