Hand Hygiene Information: Irish healthcare settings

Clean hands save lives and stop the spread of many infections

Washing your hands regularly is the single most effective way of stopping the spread of many common infections. When healthcare workers – like doctors and nurses – keep their hands clean they help prevent the spread of serious healthcare associated infections like MRSA.

Be inspired by the actions of others.

WHO Hand Hygiene Day 2016

infographic 2016

Read the HSE's 2015 Hand Hygiene Newsletter here.

Watch our short video 'Clean hands save lives - everyone is getting the message'

Watch the video on Youtube

Dr Nuala O'Connor, ICGP, outlines the 5 moments for hand hygiene and how to perform them in the average GP practice. Thanks to Nuala, Sheila Donlon from the HPSC, and Mountjoy Family Practice.

Watch the video on Youtube

It is particularly important to wash your hands after going to the toilet, before eating or handling food and after handling animals.

Remember, clean hands save lives and stop the spread of many infections.

Watch the video at www.youtube.com/hseireland

Some of the common infections we can help prevent by regular hand washing include:

  • Colds and flu
  • Runny noses and chest infections
  • Many tummy bugs that cause diarrhea and vomiting
  • Eye infections like conjunctivitis
  • Food relate bugs that can be spread when cooking or barbecuing food
  • MRSA

Many of these infections are common in children, so parents and childcare workers should make sure that children wash their hands regularly.

Some infections found in healthcare facilities - like hospitals -can be very serious and sometimes fatal.  We can help stop the spread of these infections by making sure that healthcare workers, patients and visitors all make sure that their hands are clean.

Remember, clean hands save lives and stop the spread of many infections.

How to wash your hands

  • Wet your hands with warm water and apply a small amount of soap on to your hands
  • Rub your hand together until the soap forms a lather.  Rub all over the top of your hands, in between your fingers and around and under your fingernails.
  • Continue to do this for 15 seconds, which is around the length of time it takes to sing the ‘happy birthday’ song twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under running water and dry your hands using paper, a clean towel or a hot air dryer.

Remember, clean hands save lives and stop the spread of many infections.