It's in your hands!

03 May 2018

Annually since 2009 the 5 May brings to us ‘save lives, clean your hands’ day. This campaign aims to improve hand hygiene globally in health care settings by bringing people together and supporting a social movement regarding the importance of hand hygiene. A key focus being to keep both patients and health care workers safe. This annual campaign is led by the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to support the prevention of often life threatening hospital acquired infections (HAI).

This year the World Health Organisation is focusing on the prevention of sepsis. Sepsis is defined as a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a response to infection, it is estimated to affect more than 30 million people every year worldwide, yet it’s so preventable.

When performed at the right times, hand hygiene saves millions of lives each year in health care – it must be taken seriously.

So, whether you’re a healthcare professional, someone reading this out of interest or maybe a patient who would like to keep their eye on hand hygiene - here are the five steps of when to clean your hands, for every day of the year:

  • Before touching a patient
  • Before clean/aseptic procedures
  • After body fluid exposure/risk
  • After touching a patient
  • After touching patient surroundings.

So… What can you do?

Health workers can:

  • Follow evidence-based guidelines for hand hygiene.
  • Improve the prevention of infections in all health care settings by understanding and applying the five steps of hand washing.
  • Educate all health workers on the importance of clean hands.

Patients and the general public can:

  • Talk to health workers about hand hygiene.
  • Visit the WHO website to see what they can do to support patient participation:

Remember... It’s in your hands!



The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.


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