Hand Hygiene

Pathogens are often spread through unwashed hands. Therefore, special attention should be paid to hand hygiene especially in the milieu of illegal drugs. This applies equally to personnel and clientele. An advice sheet with the key information should be available in every establishment.

Why should you wash your hands?

  • Pathogens (viruses and bacteria) are tiny and are often not visible to the naked eye. Some of these pathogens can, for example, cause diarrhoea, colds or more serious, sometimes life-threatening illnesses.
  • Most germs are removed by washing the hands thoroughly using soap.
  • Pathogens can get into your body when you touch your nose, mouth or open wounds with unwashed hands.

Employees of the health care system (private practices, hospitals, etc.) are professionally obligated to pay special attention to washing their hands. You should make washing your hands a high priority!

When should you wash your hands?

  • Before and after each intravenous drug use
  • After each time you come into contact with your own blood, someone else‘s blood or any blood-contaminated
    surfaces
  • When you get home
  • Before you prepare or eat any meal
  • Before you put in or take out your contact lenses
  • After touching uncooked foods (especially fish, meat or poultry)
  • After each time you use the toilet and/or any time you come into contact with your own stool or someone else‘s
  • After intensive contact with animals (petting)

Use alkali-free soap with a pH value of 5.5 in order to avoid damaging the protective acid mantle of the skin.

How do you wash your hands properly?

  • Use soap and warm, running water.
  • Wash the entire surface of your hand, the palm of your hand, and the back side of your hand; wash your fingers and also under your finger nails, if necessary.
  • Rub your hands together for at least 10 to 15 seconds.
  • When drying your hands, use only a clean towel; use only disposable paper towels when using a public toilet. Instead of rubbing down your hands, it is better to dab them dry in order to avoid placing too much stress on the skin.
  • After washing your hands do not use your clean hands to touch the tap (which is covered with germs). Instead, use a paper towel to cover it and turn it off.
  • Take care of your hands regularly with hand lotion in order to prevent them from getting too dry.