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Hand Hygiene

One of the best defenses against germs is frequent, thorough handwashing and use of hand sanitizer (gel). It is also one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to combat the spread of germs and infections.

Our hand hygiene program includes:

  • Signs and posters reminding everyone of the importance of hand hygiene
  • Regular monitoring of staff hand hygiene practices
  • Gel dispensers are located throughout our clinics and hospitals; all patients and visitors are welcome - and encouraged to use them
  • As a patient or visitor, please clean your hands thoroughly with either gel or soap and water:
    • When entering or leaving the hospital
    • When entering or leaving a patient room
    • Before and after touching a patient or patient environment
    • If you come in contact with a wound, blood or other body fluids
    • Before and after eating or handling food
    • When hands are visibly dirty
    • After using the toilet or changing a diaper
    • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

Simple steps to washing your hands well:

  • Adjust water temperature to warm and wet hands with running water
  • Apply one to two pumps of soap
  • Rub hands together covering all surfaces of the hands and fingers
  • Rinse well under running water
  • Pat hands dry with paper toweling
  • Turn off faucet with the towel

Tips for effective use of hand sanitizer

  • Use a sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
  • In most cases, unscented gel is most effective
  • Apply enough (about dime size) to wet hands completely
  • Rub hands together about 15-30 seconds until hands are dry
  • Include all areas—between fingers, around nailbeds and up to your wrists

Other important information

  • Gel is gentler and less drying than soap and water and is best:
    • Before preparing/handling/eating food
    • When you are sick
  • Sometimes is it better to use soap and water, such as:
    • When hands are visibly dirty
    • After using the bathroom
  • A good rule of thumb: Below the belt (ex: after using the bathroom or changing a diaper) wash with soap and water. Above the belt (ex: after blowing your nose or shaking hands) use gel.

If you have any questions about hand hygiene, talk with your healthcare provider or call Gundersen Infection Control at (608) 775-6810.

1900 South Ave.
La Crosse, WI 54601

(608) 782-7300

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