Wash Your Hands – Part 3
Hand hygiene encompasses both hand washing with soap and water and hand rubbing with waterless alcohol-based solutions. many health care workers falsely believe that traditional hand washing is both more efficacious and gentle on the skin. However, alcohol-
based solutions are microbiologically superior, gentler of the skin with less disruption to the skin’s lipid (fat) layers, and more likely to be used correctly when compared with soap-and water.
Some of the common definitions pertaining to hand hygiene are as follows:
Hand hygiene – includes hand washing, antiseptic hand wash, antiseptic hand rub, and surgical hand antisepsis.
Hand washing – washing of the hands with plain (nonantimicrobial) soap and water.
Hand antisepsis – use of antiseptic hand wash or antiseptic hand rub.
Antiseptic hand wash – washing hands with soap and water or detergents containing an antiseptic agent.
Antiseptic hand rub – application of waterless antiseptic agent to the hands (does not require use of water as it is an alcohol-based product).
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