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May 4, 2020

On World Hand Hygiene Day, Learn to Break the Chain of Infection


Updated: May 5

Today, May 5, is World Hand Hygiene Day. 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 health care settings.

What is Hand Hygiene?

Hand hygiene is a term referring to any action of hand cleansing. This includes applying alcohol-based handrub OR washing hands with water and soap.

Hand Hygiene Guidance

Health care 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 resident
  • After touching a resident or the resident’s immediate environment
  • After contact with blood, body fluids, or contaminated surfaces
  • Immediately after glove removal


  • Thumbs, fingertips and between fingers are the areas most often missed when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Glove use IS NOT a substitute for cleaning your hands.

Our Simple Strategies to Prevent Infections tools offer practical ways to lower the risk of infection among your patients, residents and staff. These education tools can be quickly read and referenced and are great for in-services, huddles, and can be posted throughout your facility.

Use our three posters to remind staff, residents or patients to clean their hands and not to touch their face.

Want more infection prevention tools and resources? Join HQIN! Learn more about our no-cost assistance.