Imagine checking into the hospital with a simple case of tonsillitis, and checking out with a life-threatening infection. It could happen. In fact, healthcare-associated infections are among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths each year. These dangerous infections can strike in your bloodstream, surgical wounds, urinary tract, and lungs.
If you are hospitalized, there's one simple step you and your visitors can take to help prevent these kinds of infections: cleanse your hands, and make sure that everyone who touches you cleanses their hands too.
What is the right way to wash one’s hands?
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.
How should you use hand sanitizer?
For more information on handwashing, please visit the CDC's Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives, or call 1-800-CDC-INFO or email firstname.lastname@example.org for answers to specific questions.