Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is one of the most important ways to stop infection spreading and means cleaning your hands using either soap and water or alcohol based hand rub.

If your hands are visibly dirty or you or someone you are caring for have sickness and diarrhoea or other gastro-intestinal infection, for example norovirus, then use soap and water.

At all other times use alcohol-based hand rub. 

Hand hygiene technique

Use the hand hygiene technique shown in the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM):

Further information on hand hygiene can be found in the NIPCM.

Hand hygiene in the context of COVID-19

Nurses, midwives and other healthcare workers are the frontline heroes saving lives from COVID-19 but we also need the public to help fight COVID-19 by adopting frequent hand hygiene as part of their day-to-day practices.

Hand Hygiene is one of the most effective actions to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. Conducting hand hygiene at the right time, using the right technique, with either Alcohol-Based Hand Rub (ABHR) or soap, water and disposable or clean towels is critical.

Nurses and other healthcare staff should follow the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual to prevent spreading infection to those in the healthcare setting.

Members of the public can help prevent infections when visiting healthcare settings by following the advice in our Healthcare Associated Infection: Information for the public leaflet.

Further information about the campaign can be found on the WHO website.