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OPRP - Handwashing Guidelines

Since person-to-person spread can play a significant role in the spread of some enteric pathogens, hand hygiene is a critical element of any outbreak prevention and control strategy.  During outbreaks of acute gastroenteritis, all passenger and crew members should be advised and reminded to wash their hands frequently to prevent the propagation of the illness.

Steps to proper handwashing...

  1. Hands should be washed using soap and warm, running water
  2. Hands should be rubbed vigorously during washing for at least 20 seconds with special attention paid to the backs of the hands, wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails
  3. Hands should be rinsed well while leaving the water running
  4. With the water running, hands should be dried with a single-use towel
  5. Turn off the water using a paper towel, covering washed hands to prevent re-contamination.

Hands should be washed after the following activities:

  • After touching bare human body parts other than clean hands and clean, exposed portions of arms
  • After using the toilet
  • After coughing, sneezing, using a handkerchief or disposable tissue, using tobacco, eating or drinking
  • After handling soiled equipment or utensils
  • After food preparation, as often as necessary to remove soil and contamination and to prevent cross-contamination when changing tasks
  • After switching between working with raw food and working with ready-to-eat food
  • After engaging in other activities that contaminate the hands.

Note:  The VSP does not endorse the use of hand sanitizers in lieu of handwashing with soap and warm, running water.  Hand sanitizers containing 60-90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol in concentration with equivalent sanitizing strength, may be used as an adjunct to proper handwashing.

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