Wash your hands with soap and water when exposed to blood, body fluids and potentially spore-forming pathogens, is the message the World Health Organisation (WHO) wants to get across to all healthcare workers.

WHO recently released its hand hygiene in healthcare guidelines in an effort to minimise transmission of pathogenic microorganisms to patients and healthcare workers.

It says all hospital staff should be educated on correct hygiene practice, while regulation and resource allocation should also take these into account.

The use of alcohol-based hand rubs is also recommended for other clinical situations where hands are not visibly dirty.

WHO says hand hygiene is needed before and after touching a patient and contaminated body site, and before using surgical instruments on patients.

It is also required before handling medication and preparing patient food.

WHO says hand hygiene techniques such as using alcohol handrub in sufficient quantities, using single use towels and avoiding hot water while washing hands with soap to reduce risk of dermatitis are important.

During surgical hand preparation it suggests measures like removing jewellery, using antimicrobial soap for the time period asked by the maker and drying hands completely before wearing surgical gloves.

Hand hygiene products that do not cause irritation should always be used in hospitals.

By staff writer.