Proper hand hygiene is considered to be the single most important measure for preventing pathogen transmission in healthcare settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two hand hygiene methods in healthcare settings:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60-95% ethanol): Put product on hands and rub hands to cover all surfaces until hands feel dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
- Soap and water: Wet hands first with water, apply the amount of product recommended by the manufacturer to hands, and rub hands together vigorously for at least 15 seconds, covering all surfaces of the hands and fingers; rinse hands with water and use disposable towels to dry; use towel to turn off the faucet. Avoid using hot water, to prevent drying of skin.
According to the CDC, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the most effective products for reducing the number of germs on the hands of healthcare providers, and are the preferred method for cleaning hands in most clinical situations. Soap and water should be used whenever they are visibly dirty, before eating, and after using the restroom.
Following hand hygiene, hands should be thoroughly dried before donning gloves to prevent bacterial growth. Additionally, hands washed with alcohol-based hand sanitizer should be thoroughly dried before gloving because those products can interfere with glove integrity.
Since 1992, OSHA Review, Inc. has provided dental professionals with comprehensive programs to support regulatory compliance and infection control. We are a registered continuing education provider in the state of California, specializing in Dental Practice Act, infection control, and OSHA training.