As dental professionals, assistants, and staff members, we wash our hands so frequently to ensure proper infection control that it has now become second nature throughout the work day and in our personal lives. Although many people in other industries may understandably not require as frequent hand washing as those in the medical field, proper hand hygiene is always important, since it is the single most effective method to prevent the spread of germs and infections.
Proper technique. The gold standard is using traditional hand soap and water. All rings, bracelets, and other jewelry should be removed before proper hand washing is to begin. Moisten the entire hand and wrist with warm water, followed by applying and lathering soap throughout the hand. Ensure sufficient scrubbing between fingers, under nails, and on both sides of the hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds. Dry your hand with a clean paper towel, and turn off the water tap with the used paper towel.
Use of Hand Sanitizers. Alcohol based hand sanitizers are a common alternative to reducing the amount of germs on your hands. Typically consisting of 60% alcohol, these sanitizers are a quick and convenient option. However, if your hands are visibly greasy or soiled, hand sanitizers will not be effective; regular hand washing with soap will be required.
The best time to wash. Before and after food handling, after using the toilet, after a sneeze or a cough, after playing with dogs/cats/etc. Some overlooked areas of sources of germs are cell phone devices, restaurant salt and pepper shakers, door handles, vending machine buttons, and crosswalk buttons. Don’t forget to scrub after touching them!