10/26/2009 - News

WHO Issues Guidelines on Keeping Hands Clean

By: June Chen, MD


The World Health Organization (WHO) has released guidelines on maintaining hand hygiene in any setting in which health care is provided. These guidelines provide a thorough review of hand hygiene research, as well as specific recommendations for improving hygiene practices to reduce the transmission of infection to both patients and healthcare workers.


 The WHO guidelines recommend handwashing with soap and water for hands that are visibly dirty or visibly soiled with body fluids, as well as after toilet use or after exposure to potential spore-forming organisms, such as Clostridium difficile. In all other situations, the WHO advises the use of an alcohol-based handrub as the preferred method for routine hand hygiene. The guidelines also offer specific recommendations for hand hygiene techniques, preparation of hands for surgery, selection of hand hygiene agents, and use of gloves.


On May 5, 2009, the WHO also launched a SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands initiative to help healthcare workers improve hand hygiene and stop the spread of infection. In light of the global spread of H1N1, or the swine flu, these Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care offer a timely reminder of the importance of promoting and implementing good hand hygiene practices.



World Health Organization Key Documents.

Created on: 05/13/2009
Reviewed on: 10/26/2009

No votes yet