Germs spread from person to person through a common series of events. To prevent germs from infecting more people, we must break the chain of infection. No matter the germ, there are six points at which the chain can be broken, and a germ can be stopped from infecting another person. The six links include: types of germs, where germs live, how germs get out, how germs get around, how germs get in, and the next sick person.
Breaking the Chain of Infection
Practicing hand hygiene is a simple yet effective way to prevent infections. Clean hands are the single most important factor in preventing the spread of germs in healthcare settings.
What is Hand Hygiene?
Hand hygiene is a term referring to any action of hand cleansing. This includes applying alcohol-based hand rub OR washing hands with water and soap.
Hand Hygiene Guidance
Healthcare personnel should use an alcohol-based hand rub or wash with soap and water for the following clinical indications:
- Immediately before touching a patient
- Before performing an aseptic task (e.g., placing an indwelling device) or handling invasive medical devices
- Before moving from work on a soiled body site to a clean body site on the same patient
- After touching a patient or the patient’s immediate environment
- After contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces
- Immediately after glove removal
- Thumbs, fingertips, between fingers are the areas most often missed when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Glove use IS NOT a substitute for cleaning your hands.
- After drying your hands, discard paper towel in waste basket and use a clean paper towel to turn off the faucet.
These Simple Strategies to Prevent Infections below provide you with practical ways to lower your patients’ and your risk of infection. These are staff education tools that can be quickly read and referenced. They are great for in-services, huddles, and can be posted throughout your facility. Click on the image or hyperlink below to download each Simple Strategy.
Know When to Practice Hand Hygiene
Post the three posters below to remind staff and patients to clean their hands and not to touch their faces. Click on the image or hyperlink to download each one.
Remind Everyone to Wash Their Hands