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Hand Washing and Hygiene

(757) 668-7000

Purpose: To aid in the education of patient and families in general hygiene and promote wellness.

Definition: Hygiene refers to the general condition of the body. Personal Hygiene refers to basic cleanliness of the body.

Germs cause many illnesses. To help decrease the spread of germs, we must all take special care. Hand washing is one of the MOST effective ways to stop the spread of germs. You will use soap and water to help remove bacteria and other germs from your hands. Hand sanitizers are a good way to kill germs on your hands. Using good hand hygiene will help keep both you and your child healthy.

  • If using soap and water, hands should be rubbed together to lather up the soap and care should be given to the areas between each of the fingers, and under the nails, backs of hands and around wrists. Rinse all soap off with clean, warm water, and dry well.
  • If using a hand sanitizer, place small amount of the gel in the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together. Be sure to coat all parts of your hands including your palms, in between fingers, under nails, back of hands and around wrists.

Hospital staff and visitors are required to use the hand washing and hand sanitizing solutions provided by the hospital. Everyone, including family members, should wash their hands or use the hand sanitizer before and after visiting your child.

Your hands may be carrying germs whether you know it or not. So it is especially important to wash your hands or use the hand sanitizer:

  • after using the toilet and/or flushing the toilet
  • after changing a diaper
  • after brushing or rearranging your child's hair or your hair
  • after blowing or wiping your child's nose or your nose
  • before and after you eat or feed your child or touch any food
  • before and after you touch your face
  • before you touch a newborn baby or someone who is sick
  • after coming inside from outside
  • before and after you use the telephone
  • after visiting someone who is sick

Other ways that germs can be spread include sharing personal items. It is important to never share things such as hairbrushes or combs, barrettes, hats or scarves. Hairbrushes should be washed routinely with hot, soapy water. This can easily be done in the shower after you wash your hair.

Using a handkerchief of tissue when you need to wipe your nose or cough can also stop the spread of germs. Throw any tissue paper away in a garbage can and wash your hands as soon as possible.

Other handouts that are available for hygiene education are: Personal Hygiene, Menstruation and Hygiene, Toilet Training, Head Lice, Circumcision Home Care.


Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 07/2008

(757) 668-7000