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How to properly wash your hands

Infection occurs due to absence of hygiene in our surroundings. Spread of infection may also lead to loss of lives of people, therefore, appropriate steps must be taken to control and prevent it before it’s too late. Washing or rinsing of hands with soap is the easiest step in preventing the infection. Even if you are a patient, you can ask doctors, health care providers, friends and family members to wash their hands before they come close to you.

How to clean your hands in a proper way?

  • Ensure that you remove your nail paint before washing your hands.
  • Each and every ornament must be removed from hands including your wrist watch before rinsing your hands.
  • Lukewarm water is recommended for the purpose of washing hands. It should neither be too hot nor too cold. Proper way of cleaning hands is to wash your palm up to wrist.
  • Enough soap (cleansing liquid) must be applied to form lather.
  • Washing hands in a proper way includes rubbing soap or cleansing liquid over your hands for about 30 seconds. This friction between both palms helps kill germs properly.
  • Ensure that you clean your fingernails properly. It is recommended for the healthcare workers that they trim down their nails to avoid infection.
  • While washing hands, your elbows must be at higher angle than your palms to avoid germs from getting over your hands.
  • Do not touch the sink/basin while washing hands; otherwise, you might have to wash your hands again.
  • In case you come in contact with vomit, urine, mucus, blood, you must wash your hands twice, at least for a minute.
  • After washing your hands, a dried up and clean towel must be used to dry your hands. It would be better to use a disposable towel as there are chances of germ penetration in re-usable towel.

What does a CNA examiner notice when you demonstrate this skill?

  • Your standing position (You must stand in such a position that you do not come in direct contact with the wash basin. Your clothes must not touch the wash basin).
  • Temperature of water that you select- hot / cold / lukewarm.
  • Whether you close the tap after washing your hands?
  • How do you position your hands and elbows while washing? (elbows must always be at higher angle than hands)
  • Whether you apply sufficient quantity of soap over your hands to form lather?
  • Whether you use the paper towel properly to dry your hands? (you must always dry your fingertips first moving up to your wrist)
  • Dispose of the paper tissue properly after drying your hands.
  • How do you close the tap after use? (a paper tissue / towel must be used to close the tap after use)

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Expert’s Tips

  • Keep track of all details in your practical sessions.
  • Never forget to wash your hands before and after your work. It helps keep you and patient infection free. Hand washing must be the first skill that you must practice before the application of any other skill.
  • You must follow every single step in hand washing. If you miss any step, you may lose marks and fail the exam.