Clean Hands Are Critical to Disease Prevention
May 05, 2016
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is launching a new hand hygiene campaign, Clean Hands Count, to coincide with WHO’s World Hand Hygiene Day. Designed for healthcare providers, patients, and their loved ones, Clean Hands Count aims to:
- Improve healthcare provider adherence to CDC hand hygiene recommendations
- Address the myths and misperceptions about hand hygiene
- Empower patients to play a role in their care by asking or reminding healthcare providers to clean their hands
Hand hygiene is vital in preventative medicine, just like timely vaccine are. Unfortunately, hand contact is known to be a major way germs spread in medical facilities, and studies show that some healthcare professionals don’t follow CDC hand hygiene recommendations.
On average, healthcare professionals clean their hands less than half of the times they should. This contributes to the spread of healthcare-associated infections that affect 1 in 25 hospital patients on any given day. An estimated 722,000 healthcare-associated infections occur each year in U.S. hospitals, and about 75,000 patients with these infections die during their hospital stays. This is why is so important that healthcare providers follow good hand hygiene practices, such as cleaning their hands before and after every patient contact.
CDC’s new campaign uses dramatic images and messages to catch doctors’ and nurses’ attention, dispel myths about hand hygiene, and empower patients to advocate for clean hands. It is also intended to dispel some of the myths and misperceptions about hand hygiene. For example, some people wrongly believe that using alcohol-based hand sanitizer contributes to antibiotic resistance and that it is more damaging to hands than washing with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills germs quickly and in a different way than antibiotics, so it does not cause antibiotic resistance, and it causes less skin irritation than frequent use of soap and water.
To help support the Clean Hands Count Campaign, please share the following resources and materials with your friends, family and colleagues:
Additionally, we encourage you to:
- Join in with the CDC at 2 p.m. ET for the #CleanHandsCount Twitter Chat.
- Tell us who your #CleanHandsCount for by sharing pictures and stories on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
- Visit the Clean Hands Count webpage to learn more.
Thank you for your support. We hope this campaign will help to improve hand hygiene adherence, reduce healthcare-associated infections, and protect patients.
This guest post was written by Alethea Mshar out of concern for her son Ben. A version of this post originally appeared on her blog Ben’s Writing, Running Mom. Like all parents, my child’s health...
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