Introduction to Hand Hygiene

Why is hand hygiene so important?

The most common way germs are spread is by people's hands. Germs are often harmless but they can also cause illnesses such as colds, flu, and tummy bugs.

Washing your hands properly with soap and warm water is the single most important thing you can do to help reduce the spread of infections and help protect you, your family and those around you.


It is vitally important that all children are made aware of the importance and benefits of washing their hands properly.

Encouraging children to wash their hands at appropriate times will help to ensure that this practice becomes a lifelong habit.

Materials were developed for children for use in primary schools and nurseries and were distributed in the Autumn of 2007.

A European wide educational resource - e-bug is also available for use for school age children for both classroom and home use.  It makes learning about organisms and  the spread, prevention and treatment of infection fun. 


For those people who care for friends or relatives who are unable to look after themselves, it is equally important that handwashing techniques are applied at the appropriate times.

This helps to significantly reduce the risk of passing on an infection to someone who could be more susceptible to infection because of their existing condition.

Visiting a friend or relative in Hospital

When visiting a friend or relative in hospital or other environment where healthcare is provided, it is important to ensure that you clean your hands in order to help prevent the spread of infection.

For more information to help prevent the spread of infection:

Remember - Alcohol based hand rubs are provided in every major hospital in Scotland.

Germs. Wash your hands of them

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