The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Hand hygiene

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It is vital you practice good hand hygiene and remember to wash your hands at regular intervals during your working day to prevent the spread of the virus.

Handwashing is extremely powerful at slowing down the spread of the virus. Hands should be washed frequently including before and after wearing a facemask and other PPE and after touching surfaces with our bare hands.

The design of the Coronavirus is shaped a bit like a tadpole with a sticky tail, which makes it very effective at sticking to your hands. It will not wash off by water alone. Hence the need to use soap and spend at least 20 seconds washing your hands, the soap and the friction this action takes will dislodge, dissolve and kill the virus.

Alternatively, if soap and water are not available, alcohol gel of at least 60% alcohol base (hospital supplies are 60%+) is also successful in killing the virus.

When to clean your hands

You should clean your hands at regular intervals throughout the day whilst you are on site but especially:

  • When arriving at and leaving work
  • Before and after eating food
  • When moving into or out of a clinical area
  • Before putting on a facemask or other PPE and after taking it off
  • When prompted to do so by local IPC guidance for your work area

    You should also:

    • Avoid touching surfaces or objects where possible
    • Avoid touching your face or face mask

How to wash your hands effectively

You should always use warm soapy water, or alcohol gel where this is not available, to clean your hands. Going through the below techniques twice should take around 20 seconds.

Hand washing 1