Hand Hygiene Protocols

Noroviruses can be easily transmitted via contaminated hands. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hand hygiene consisting of washing your hands if they become contaminated during care, soiled with body fluids or other soil. If gloves are worn and become contaminated, remove the gloves and wash the hands. During outbreaks or clusters of cases, pay particular attention to good hand hygiene, and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer along with hand washing1.

To help prevent the spread of noroviruses in your workplace, implement the following healthy hands protocols everyday and even more diligently during an outbreak.

Prevent Outbreaks
Contain Outbreaks
Hand Washing — How To Do It
Hand Hygiene with Alcohol-Based Hand Rub (ABHR) or Sanitizing Spray - How
To Do It

How Healthy Hands Can Help
What to Watch For!

Prevent Outbreaks
Wash and sanitize hands before preparing food and eating, and after going to the bathroom or touching your mouth or face.
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Contain Outbreaks
Be especially diligent about washing and sanitizing hands frequently, especially after handling or touching any potentially contaminated objects or before preparing food, eating or touching your mouth or face, and after using the bathroom.
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Think about the surfaces you touch where noroviruses can be found: doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, furniture, telephones, countertops, hand rails and tables where food is served and prepared.

Hand Washing — How To Do It:

  • Wash hands using soap and warm, running water.
  • Rub hands vigorously during washing for at least 20 seconds (as long as it takes to sing 'Happy Birthday' twice)
  • Pay special attention to the backs of the hands, wrists, between the fingers and under the fingernails.
  • Rinse hands well while leaving the water running.
  • With the water running, dry hands with a single-use towel.
  • Turn off the water using a paper towel, covering washed hands to prevent re-contamination2.
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Hand Hygiene with Alcohol-Based Hand Rub (ABHR) or Sanitizing Spray — How To Do It:

  • Apply one to two pumps on palm-side of each hand while holding hand in a 'claw' position. Target trouble spots like nails and cuticles.
  • Shuffle fingertips in palm of wet hand (repeat with other hand).
  • Target trouble spots like fingertips and palms.
  • Interlock fingers on both hands and move in and out. Reach into the spaces between fingers.
  • Rub hands vigorously to cover remainder of hands and wrists.
  • Allow hands to air dry — make sure enough product is applied to thoroughly cover all surfaces and fingernail beds and for hands to remain wet for at least 30 seconds.
  • When using a hand sanitizer, make sure you reach all surfaces of the hand. Germ hot spots include: fingertips, cuticles and nailbeds, underneath the fingernails, between fingers, knuckles, wrists, and any furrows or wrinkles in the skin.

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How Healthy Hands Can Help
Hand washing not only gets rid of dirt and grime, but also loosens germs from the skin so that they can be washed away with friction and water. Sanitizing kills most germs on the skin. So, for an extra layer of prevention, sanitize after you wash to reduce your risk even more. Remember to apply moisturizing lotion often during a work shift to maintain healthy skin.
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What to Watch For!
The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains 60-95%3 alcohol. The alcohol contained in a hand sanitizer denatures or destroys the virus's proteins, rendering it unable to cause infection4.

Pay attention to the alcohol concentration of your hand sanitizer. Lower concentrations may not be as effective5.
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  1. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/pub/norovirus/norovirus.htm
  2. http://www.cdc.gov/cleanhands/
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol12no03/05-0955.htm
  4. Kamm, O. 1921. The relation between structure and physiologic action of the alcohols. J. Am. Pharm. Assoc. 10:87-92.
  5. 5. Malik YS, et al. Comparative efficacy of ethanol and isopropanol against feline calicivirus, a norovirus surrogate.Am J Infect Control. 2006 Feb;34(1):31-5.