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May 5: Hand Hygiene Day

Hand hygiene is a simple thing and it's the best way to prevent infection and illness.

Clean hands prevent infections. Keeping hands clean prevents illness at home, at school, and at work. Hand hygiene practices are key prevention measures in healthcare settings, in daycare facilities, in schools and public institutions, and for the safety of our food.

In healthcare settings, hand hygiene can prevent potentially fatal infections from spreading from patient to patient and from patient to healthcare worker and vice-versa.

On May 5, SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands is celebrated by the World Health Organization (WHO), CDC and other partners to encourage healthcare providers to promote and practice good hand hygiene measures to reduce the risk of infection among patients. This year’s theme highlights the importance of hand hygiene best practices to prevent the spread of antimicrobial resistance.

Photo: Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013Hand Hygiene Saves Lives: patient Admission Video
Hand Hygiene Interactive Training Course

CDC recently highlighted antibiotic resistant threats in a new report, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. Every year, more than two million people in the United States get infections that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die as a result. The report presents a first-ever snapshot of the burden and threats posed by the antibiotic-resistant germs that have the most impact on human health.

To combat antibiotic resistance, CDC has identified four core actions [5.23 MB] including to prevent infections in the first place to reduce the amount of antibiotics that have to be used and reduces the likelihood that resistance will develop during therapy. Hand hygiene is a key step in preventing infections.

CDC offers several hand hygiene resources for patients and healthcare providers.

Photo: A healthcare professional

To download the video and accompanying brochures and posters in English and Spanish, please visit Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings.

Hand Hygiene Interactive Training Course

This online training course reviews the key concepts of hand hygiene and other standard precautions to prevent healthcare-associated infections. It is intended for healthcare providers and includes a self-paced navigation program that allows users to learn through both text and image-based pages. The course also includes several interactive activities and questions, which reemphasize the learning objectives throughout. A unique close-captioned 60-second video demonstrates the appropriate technique for handwashing mid-way through the course. At the conclusion of the course there are creative posters and screen savers available for download.

The training course is available at Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings.