Hand Hygiene and Personal Protection
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Semmelweis demonstrated the importance of hand hygiene in 1847, and it remains the single most important intervention in infection control. This is because so many diseases are transmitted by our hands. Potential pathogens will be amongst the transient flora residing on our hands; the microbes loosely attached to the outer layers of our skin, picked up from touching parts of our body; contact with other people; handling pets and other animals; and contact with surfaces like door handles and other fomites. These can then be passed onto people we contact, e.g. patients, and deposited on fomites, or we can self-inoculate ourselves, e.g. touching our mouth and nose. Hand hygiene aims to remove these harmful microorganisms and stop their spread.
- WHO. WHO guidelines on hand hygiene in health care: first global patient safety challenge clean care is safer care. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009.Google Scholar