FIRST AID CARE | Best hand-washing practice | stay safe during COVID-19

Always encourage good hand-washing.

Just like during a regular cold and flu season, there are steps you can take to stay healthy. In fact, it is important to remember that while COVID-19 is on the rise in Ontario and the US, the good practices we adopt during the flu season will apply. Practices like frequent hand-washing, sneezing into your sleeve, and not rubbing your eyes or nose will help you in the long run. Additionally, here are some other ways to reduce your risk of getting sick:

  • Regularly wash your hands with warm water and soap, or use hand sanitizer if proper hand-washing facilities are unavailable
  • Avoid close contact with people who are feeling sick
  • Frequently clean and disinfect common surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, bedside tables, phones, remote controls, keyboards, and phones at least once a day
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

Nurses and PSWs

Hand Care Protection Components for Nurses and PSWs as well as other Health Care Providers (hereinafter, Health Care Providers) is an essential component in the hand care protection program.

Improved adherence to hand hygiene has been shown to stop the spread and significantly reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Healthcare providers may need to practice hand-washing up to 30 times per shift. Needless to say, frequent and repeated use of hand hygiene products is an essential practice, particularly when using soaps and/or alcohol-based liquids.

Educating the Health Care Providers about Hand-washing

Provide education to health care providers at orientation and on an ongoing basis on practicing hand-washing in order to promote skin integrity. HCPs frequently think that nothing can be done for their irritated hands. A proactive message encouraging them to have an assessment, and education on how to protect their hands, will assist in early intervention to protect their hands.

  • Verify HCPs are familiar with the correct hand hygiene techniques and have seen the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) Hand Hygiene education module.
  • Educate personnel regarding the need to use regular, frequent use of hand-care lotions provided by the facility.
  • Educate personnel regarding wearing protective gloves correctly to decrease irritation from the gloves.
  • Emphasize HCPs should have their hands assessed by Occupational Health as soon as any skin irritation occurs.

Just yesterday I saw a program on the telly once again urging the importance of hand-washing — as frequently as possible. If you’ve been home, whether self-quarantined or working from home, then the hand-washing isn’t as big a deal as when you’re venturing outside, whether collecting mail or dashing off to your nearest grocery store. We’re talking about 10 times a day. Think of the many things you touch when outside door knobs, elevator buttons, entry and exit doors, grocery carts, the list goes on and on. A nice way to always keep yourself safe is to have one of those alcohol squeeze bottles in your pocket. That way, you can just squeeze and go, literally.

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