Read our latest advice on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our services are open and safe to attend – we are here to help

Washing your hands

Patients and visitors

More in this section

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself and others from illnesses such as food poisoning, flu and coronavirus.

Even if they look clean your hands still carry germs.

When should you wash your hands?

Wash your hands with soap and water:

  • after using the toilet, changing a nappy or handling a potty
  • after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
  • after contact with blood or body fluid
  • before and after handling raw food like meat and vegetables
  • before and after eating or handling food
  • before and after treating a cut or wound

Use hand rub when entering and leaving the ward. Dispensers of hand rub are at all ward entrances and bedsides. This can be used even on sensitive skin and is very effective in killing germs.

How to wash your hands

You should wash your hands more often and for at least 20 seconds.

  1. Wet your hands under warm running water.
  2. Apply enough soap to cover your hands.
  3. Rub your hands together vigorously.
  4. Use one hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand.
  5. Rub the back of your fingers against your palms.
  6. Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb.
  7. Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with other hand.
  8. Rinse your hands under running water.
  9. Dry your hands completely with a disposable paper towel.
  10. Use the paper towel or your elbow to turn off the tap, to avoid recontaminating your hands.

If you do not have immediate access to soap and water then use alcohol-based handrub if available.

If using hand rub

  1. Apply one to two squirts of hand rub on your hands.
  2. Rub all surfaces of your hands together in a similar manner to steps 3-7 above.
  3. Do not wet your hands or wash the hand rub off. The hand rub dries in 20-30 seconds.

Do not assume that children know how to wash their hands. Watch how they wash their hands and teach them the correct way.

Please let our staff know if no soap, hand towels or hand rub are available and they will replace them.

  • Tell us what you think

    If you have any comments or concerns about infection control, hand hygiene or cleanliness in our hospitals, please: