International Infection Prevention Week: How to Prevent Infection with Handwashing

October 15th to the 21st is International Infection Prevention Week! Established in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan, International Infection Prevention Week (IIPW) focuses on the importance of infection prevention in saving lives. So what is one of the best ways to prevent infection? Handwashing! Handwashing to prevent the spread of infection is key, especially in healthcare settings. 

Handwashing and infection prevention in healthcare

Ignaz Semmelweis one of the founders of handwashingThe history of handwashing for infection prevention actually began in healthcare centuries ago. In 1846, a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis, hypothesized that more women were dying in childbirth because the doctors were doing autopsies and then performing deliveries. He began ordering doctors to clean their hands with a chlorine solution. While we know chlorine is excessive now, Semmelweis discovered something that still holds true today: handwashing is key to preventing the spread of infection. 

Nurse using a CleanTech Automated Handwashing Station in a Hospital Surgery Recovery RoomThis is especially true for healthcare workers, who can wash their hands up to 100 times in a 12-hour shift. Unfortunately, health care providers may not take hand-washing seriously as Studies have found that nurses only complied with handwashing procedures 42% of the time and physicians only 38% of the time. Hundreds of thousands of hospital patients get infections each year that can be deadly and hard to treat. So how do you encourage good handwashing behaviors among nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers? 

Encouraging Handwashing in Healthcare During International Infection Prevention Week

5 Moments of Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Poster from Meritech

During International Infection Prevention Week, we want to encourage your healthcare team to wash their hands properly with our 5 moments of hand hygiene poster! 

Download the 5 moments of hand hygiene poster here

Healthcare workers need to wash their hands at many crucial moments throughout the day to prevent the spread of infection. In our 5 moments of hand hygiene blog we go over in detail the times throughout the day that healthcare workers need to wash their hands to prevent the spread of infection. Read that blog and use this poster to help teach and reinforce when staff should perform a hand hygiene event for infection prevention! To further help you educate your healthcare team on the importance of good hand hygiene we’ve also put together a handwashing kit full of educational tools and activities - You can download it here. 


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