World Hand Hygiene Day – May 5th

May 2nd, 2019

Hand hygiene is the most effective way to reduce spread of hand to hand contact infectious diseases or life threatening conditions. Proper hand washing can prevent us from getting sick and protects others. If we do not wash our hands properly before contacting with others, we are spreading the germs from our hands and infect them. Others can get sick from our dirty hands that we leave from common objects like keyboards, door knobs and other equipment’s from our workplace or home.


Proper Methods of Hand Washing

Using a Soap:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hand cleansers are convenient when soap and water if not available.
  • Remove any jewelry on hand and wet both hands with warm water. Add any regular soap and rub your hands together, ensure have lathered all surfaces for at least 15 second (length of time it takes to sing Happy Birthday).
  • Wash the front and back of both hands, as well as between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Rinse hands well under warm running water, using a rubbing motion.
  • Wipe and dry your hands gently with a paper towel or a clean towel. Drying both hands forcefully can harm the skin.
  • Turn off the tap using the paper towel so that you cannot re-contaminate your hands. When using a public bathroom, use the same paper towel to open the door when leaving.
  • If skin dryness is a problem, use a moisturizing lotion.

(Hand Hygiene in public setting, n.d.)

Using Alcohol-based Hand Rubs:

  • An alcohol-based hand rub can be used if soap and water are not available.
  • If hands are visibly soiled, it is best to use soap and water. If it’s not possible to wash with soap and water, use towelettes to remove the soil, then use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Use hand rubs according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure your hands are dry, as wet hands will dilute the product.
  • Use enough products to cover all the surfaces of hands and fingers.
  • Rub hands together until the product has evaporated. If dry skin is a problem, use a moisturizing lotion.

(Hand hygiene with alcohol based, n.d.)


Minimizing Your Risks and Others

Steps that can take to protect yourself and your family:

  • Wash hands often, especially after coughing, sneezing or using tissues, before and after eating, before preparing food, after handling raw meat, after petting an animal, and after using the bathroom.
  • When you cough or sneeze, use a tissue or raise your arm up to your face and aim for your sleeve. Do not sneeze into your hand. Throw away tissues as soon as you use them
  • Keep the surface areas in your home and office free of germs by cleaning them. Doorknobs, light switches, telephones, and keyboards are especially important to keep clean.
  • If you have children, teach them good hygiene and how to wash their hands properly. Young children should be supervised while washing their hands.
  • If you use bar soap, keep it in a self-draining holder that can be cleaned thoroughly before a new bar is added.
  • Don’t use a single damp cloth to wash a group of children’s hands.
  • Don’t use a standing basin of water to rinse your hands.
  • Don’t use a common hand towel.
  • Don’t use sponges or non-disposable cleaning cloths unless you change them daily and launder them using detergent. Germs thrive on moist surfaces.



Government of Canada. (2014, May 30). The Benefits of Hand Washing. Retrieved from


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