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Wyre Forest Clinical Commissioning Group

Clean hands help reduce the spread of germs 

Worcestershire residents are being reminded of the importance of thoroughly washing their hands to help reduce the spread of germs.

Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as colds, flu or gastroenteritis.

The most effective way of washing your hands is with soap and water, by doing this people can reduce their risk of diarrhoea by nearly 50% and respiratory infections by nearly 25%.

It’s important that hands are washed properly, following the below actions. (You can follow the same procedure using alcohol-based hand rub if you don't have immediate access to soap and water, steps 2 to 7):

  1. Wet your hands with water (warm or cold)
  2. Apply enough soap to cover all over your hands. Rub hands palm to palm
  3. Rub the back of your left hand with your right palm with interlaced fingers. Repeat with the other hand
  4. Rub your palms together with fingers interlaced
  5. Rub the backs of your fingers against your palms with fingers interlocked
  6. Clasp your left thumb with your right hand and rub in rotation. Repeat with your left hand and right thumb
  7. Rub the tips of your fingers in the other palm in a circular motion, going backwards and forwards. Repeat with the other hand
  8. Rinse hands with water (warm or cold)
  9. Dry thoroughly, ideally with a disposable paper towel
  10. Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.

Emma Sneed, Infection Prevention Nurse at the three Worcestershire CCGs, said: “Washing your hands regularly and thoroughly is one of the best ways of preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses and the illnesses they can cause.

“Hands should be washed after using the toilet, when handling raw foods like chicken, meat and vegetables, before eating or handling ready to eat food and after having contact with animals, including pets.

“It's especially important to make sure that hands are washed when you're visiting someone in hospital or other healthcare setting, to help prevent the spread of infection.”

For more information about winter illness, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell

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