We know that the easiest way to spread infection is through touch. That’s why washing our hands is one of the single most important things we can do to stop the spread of infections.
Georgia Wright deputy chief nurse at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“Washing your hands is so important. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s the importance of washing your hands. Doing it properly is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent and control the spread of many illnesses. If you or anyone in your house is ill then washing your hands vastly reduces the chances of you spreading that illness in your community or to the rest of the household.
Hand sanitiser is good for most things but soap and water is the gold standard because, while sanitiser is good at killing bacteria, but doesn’t kill norovirus and some other viruses.”
Regular hand washing is important and the NHS guidance for key points when you should always wash your hands are:
- after using the toilet or changing a nappy
- before and after handling raw foods like meat and vegetables
- before eating or handling food
- after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing
- before and after treating a cut or wound
- after touching animals, including pets, their food and after cleaning their cages
Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as food poisoning, flu or diarrhoea.
It can help stop people picking up infections and spreading them to others.
You should also wash your hands before you go to a healthcare setting either as a visitor or for an appointment. Hand sanitiser is found at all hospital entrances. Doing this helps stop infections spreading when you're visiting someone in hospital or another healthcare setting. But do remember not to visit patients in any healthcare setting if you feel ill in anyway yourself.