Science Of Hand Hygiene

Science Of Hand Hygiene
Written By: Counselling Psychologist
M.Sc. Psychology - Swansea University, UK.
Reviewed By: Counselling Psychologist
MA Psychology Pennsylvania State University, USA
Last Updated: 31-03-2023

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Hand hygiene is an easy and efficient way to avoid infections. Cleaning your hands can prevent the spread of germs, including those that are resistant to antibiotics and are becoming difficult, if not impossible, to treat.

If you have the virus on your hands, you can infect yourself by touching your eyes, mouth or nose. You might think that you don’t touch your face very often, but it’s much more than you realize. A 2015 study found that people touch their faces an average of 23 times an hour.

Even in Current Scenario Coronavirus (COVID-19) outburst is a respiratory illness, meaning it is mostly spread through virus-laden droplets from coughs and sneezes. If you don’t catch your coughs and sneezes in tissue and safely dispose of it, the virus can end up on surfaces. If someone else touches that contaminated surface, the virus can transfer onto their hand.
Washing hands prevents illnesses and the spread of infections to others.

Hand Hygiene: Why, How?


  • Thousands of people die every day around the world from infections acquired while receiving health care.

  • Hands are the main pathways of germ transmission during health care.

  • Hand hygiene is, therefore, the most important measure to avoid the transmission of harmful germs

  • And prevent healthcare-associated infections.

  • Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, tabletops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.

  • Removing germs through handwashing, therefore, helps prevent diarrhoea and respiratory infections and may even help prevent skin and eye infections.


  • Clean your hands by rubbing them with an alcohol-based formulation, as the preferred means for routine hygienic hand antisepsis if hands are not visibly soiled. It is faster, more effective, and better tolerated by your hands than washing with soap and water.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty or visibly soiled with body fluids or after using the toilet.

  • If exposure to potential spore-forming pathogens is strongly suspected or proven, including outbreaks of Clostridium difficile, hand washing with soap and water is the preferred means.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 

  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

On average, healthcare providers disinfect their hands less than half the time they would. Health-related diseases are rising the focus of doctors, insurers, policymakers, and regulators. It is not only because of the severity of the issue in terms of associated morbidity, mortality and medical costs but also because of the increasing awareness that most of these are preventable. Clean Hand Protects against Infections!

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