Good hand hygiene, such as washing hands with warm soapy water, is one of the simplest, most effective ways to prevent illness and the spread of infection especially during cold and flu season. Hand washing is also a tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 commonly referred to as the Coronavirus.
When To Clean
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following handwashing guidance:
Wash hands –
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage or contaminated surfaces
How To Handwash
Handwashing is most effective when hands are wet thoroughly with water, adequate soap is applied and hands are rubbed together for 20 seconds. After washing, hands should be rinsed with water and dried with a disposable towel. Don’t forget to use the towel, not your clean hands to turn off the faucet.1
What If Soap Is Not Available?
Unfortunately, soap and water are not always available to clean your hands. In those instances, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be an effective substitute for handwashing.5 An alcohol-based hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective in reducing microbes (germs) on your hands.5 It’s important to note that hand sanitizers reduce, but do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers are most effective when no visible dirt, grease, heavy soilage, or mucous is present on the skin.
How To Effectively Use Sanitizers
To use hand sanitizers effectively:
- Select a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol or more.
- Cover the hands with enough sanitizer (refer to the product label for the amount to use).
- Rub your hands with the product until your hands are dry.2
Hand sanitizers should be kept out of the reach of children and used under adult supervision. Often products are scented or brightly colored and can be attractive to children.2 Swallowing the product can be harmful, especially to young children.
Maintain Healthy Skin
An important, often overlooked part of hand hygiene is keeping the skin on our hands in good condition. Excessive handwashing can cause red, cracked, dry, even painful skin.3 Many soaps remove the natural oils that protect the skin. Use a pH balanced hand cleanser and a quality moisturizer frequently during the day to help to minimize the drying effects of frequent hand washing on the skin.
DermaRite is leading the way in skin care with products that can be used as part of a program to prevent the spread of infection as well as maintaining overall skin health.
CLEAN – DermaKleen™
DermaKleen is a gentle, Triclosan-free, pH balanced antimicrobial hand cleanser, enriched with vitamin E. DermaKleen hand soap is mild on skin. Softens, conditions and moisturizes hands. Active against: Gram Positive Bacteria and Gram Negative Bacteria. Contains chloroxylenol.
SANITIZE – GelRite®
GelRite is an alcohol-based, pH balanced instant hand sanitizer. Kills 99% of germs. Enriched with vitamin E to keep hands soft even after repeated use. Won’t leave a sticky or tacky residue. No rinse.
SANITIZE – San-E-Foam™
San-E-Foam is an alcohol-based, pH balanced foaming hand sanitizer. Soothing, rich foam lather leave hands soft even after repeated use. For use as a health care personnel hand wash, with fast acting, broad spectrum antimicrobial activity. No sticky or tacky residue. No rinse.
MOISTURIZE & PROTECT – Renew™ Skin Repair Cream
Renew Skin Repair Cream was designed to provide maximum skin hydration while still being light enough for everyday use. Protects and helps relieve dry, chapped or cracked skin, and restores moisture. Contains dimethicone, aloe vera, and natural and essential oils combined to form a moisturizing barrier that nourishes and rejuvenates the skin.
- Graedon, J. (2019, September 4). How to Deal with Dry Skin and Cracks from Too Much Hand Washing. Retrieved from https://www.peoplespharmacy.com/articles/how-to-deal-with-dry-skin-and-cracks-from-too-much-hand-washing
Want to learn more about this topic? In addition to the reference links above, here are some great articles and resources that you can explore.
- Infectious Diseases A–Z: Does hand sanitizer kill flu and cold germs? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/infectious-diseases-a-z-does-hand-sanitizer-kill-flu-and-cold-germs/
- Soucheray, S. (2019, September 19). Hand sanitizer shown less effective than hand washing against flu. Retrieved from http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2019/09/hand-sanitizer-shown-less-effective-hand-washing-against-flu