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Save Lives: Clean Your Hands

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GE - Patients 3

As milder weather arrives and bugs and germs start to thrive, local NHS staff are encouraging people to wash their hands using the technique undertaken by health professionals.

Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Warwickshire are encouraging everyone to ensure they keep their hands clean ahead of the World Health Organisation’s annual campaign ‘Save Lives: clean your hands’.

This year’s campaign day falls on Tuesday 5 May.

Hands are still one of the biggest spreaders of germs in the UK. Hand washing with warm water and soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of germs and infections. Studies show it lowers the transmission of diarrhoea and colds both at work and home as well as in NHS facilities.

NHS South Warwickshire CCG and NHS Warwickshire North CCG are asking everyone to wash their hands regularly during the day, using warm water and soap, to prevent spreading germs. Hands should be washed after every trip to the toilet and before and after preparing food.

The NHS professional handwash involves the following 10 steps:

  1. Wet hands
  2. Apply enough handwash to cover all hand surfaces
  3. Rub hands palm to palm
  4. Right palm over the other hand with interlaced fingers and vice versa
  5. Palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  6. Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
  7. Left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
  8. Rub clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa
  9. Rinse hands thoroughly
  10. Dry thoroughly


Dr David Spraggett, Chair of NHS South Warwickshire CCG, said: “The NHS wants everyone to stay fit and healthy. By preventing germs from circulating, we can all play our part in helping to reduce the spread of flu, stomach bugs and other illnesses as well as healthcare associated infections such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile.

“By washing your hands with soap and water and making sure they’re dried properly you can significantly reduce the number of germs circulating and reduce your chances of getting ill.”

In addition those that are visiting NHS hospitals, clinics and surgeries should follow instructions on hand hygiene by either using soap and water or hand gels provided. This is to help reduce infections like MRSA and Clostridium difficile in hospitals, and it can reduce the risk but not prevent the spread of norovirus. Anyone visiting patients should always ensure their hands are cleaned before entering or leaving a ward or clinical area.

Locally, recent outbreaks of the sickness and diarrhoea bug Norovirus have caused some disruption at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton and Warwick Hospital in the south of the county. The simple action of correct hand washing can help to greatly reduce the spread of Norovirus amongst patients, staff and visitors to hospitals.

Christine Georgeu, South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust’s Matron for Infection Prevention said: “Hand washing plays a crucial role in reducing the spread of infection and therefore it is extremely important that everyone recognises and understands the need to practice good hand hygiene at all times. We promote hand washing in all of our acute and community hospitals and ask that patients, staff and visitors all take responsibility for limiting the spread of infection. To support this sinks are present at the entrance to every ward, as well as a notice demonstrating the correct hand washing procedure.”

The NHS has produced a simple video showing the best way to wash your hands in the way that professionals are taught. See www.wash-hands.com

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