September 1, 2018

Inspiring Health: Clean Hands are Caring Hands


Larry Antonucci portrait

Larry Antonucci

Our hands come in contact with a wide variety of items every day—from gas pumps and grocery carts to gym equipment, door knobs, elevator buttons, electronics and other people’s hands. Because microbes (the tiny living organisms that may or may not cause disease) and germs (the microbes that can cause disease) are on all of these surfaces, practicing good hand hygiene is crucial for our health. Keeping our hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid spreading germs and to keep our families safe.

Hand-washing—whether with soap and clean, running water or sanitizer gel—should be done regularly throughout the day. It is not necessary to wash your hands after everything you touch, but it is important to routinely clean your hands. It may seem obvious, but here are some specific times to wash:

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the bathroom
  • After wiping your nose or touching your face
  • After touching an animal or its waste
  • After touching garbage
  • When hands are visibly soiled
  • When visiting a family member or friend in the hospital—upon arrival and when leaving

In the health care setting, we are very aware of bacteria, infections and contamination, so we are always mindful of hand hygiene.

Germs are everywhere, especially now as children, faculty and administrators return to school and as we enter flu season, so incorporating good hand hygiene practices are important for everyone to reduce the spread of germs and disease.

Here are some tips for proper hand-washing:

  • Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
  • Rub your hands together to make a lather. Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Continue scrubbing for 20 seconds—approximately the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice through.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water.
  • Dry your hands with a clean towel. Use the paper towel to turn off the faucet.

If you’re using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:

  • Apply the product to the palm of your hand.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Rub the product over all surfaces of your hands and fingers and continue rubbing until your hands are dry.

Yours in Health,

Larry Antonucci signatureLarry Antonucci, M.D., MBA

President & CEO, Lee Health

Thank you for your support. Together we are Caring People. Inspiring Health.