Hand Hygiene for Health Care: When & How to Clean Hands

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Hands come into contact with many surfaces, potentially spreading infections. Learn when and why hand hygiene is important and discover how to properly wash your hands to maximize cleanliness in health care. Updated: 12/21/2021

What Is Hygiene?

We hear of the word hygiene all of the time, but do you know what hygiene actually is? Hygiene is quite simply the science of health. And, hand hygiene is one of the most important, if not the most important, aspect of controlling and preventing the transmission of infection. Since it's that important, let's go over some important points about hand hygiene, including how to properly wash your hands in a step-by-step manner.

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  • 0:01 What Is Hygiene?
  • 0:27 When & Why
  • 1:26 How to Wash Your Hands
  • 2:49 Lesson Summary
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When and Why

In a bit more detail with respect to what I just mentioned, why do we bother with proper hand hygiene? It's because the first line of defense we have against infection is the skin. By keeping the skin healthy and free from potentially pathogenic, or disease-causing, substances and organisms, we also serve to protect the rest of our body.

If the skin is dirty, it might get infected, and that infection puts a strain on the body. Worst of all, that infection can spread throughout the body, especially if the person is suffering from an already debilitating condition. If the skin is full of pathogens and we touch our mouth or eyes, they can get infected, too. This can cause problems such as the stomach flu. It doesn't matter if you're a nurse in a hospital or simply coming home from a day at work, proper hand hygiene is always important for your safety or for that of your patients. And, it's important you follow the steps I'm about to go over in full. This is because inadequate handwashing can actually just spread germs around without killing them or washing them off.

How to Wash Your Hands

So, how do you wash your hands properly then? Let's go over the appropriate steps right now.

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