Standard Precautions, Handwashing, Asepsis Principles

Universal/Standard precautions — also called routine practices — is a banket name for things like proper handwashing, avoiding contact with dirty items, not putting things on the floor, using gloves, using hand sanitizer, not shaking things wildly… Essentially, common sense usage in the prevention of spreading illnesses.

More often than not, it just refers to proper handwashing: when you do it, how you do it, how long, and so forth.

Using standard precautions, we can put a stop to the infectious process at the “spreading” step.

Standard Precautions

  •  Take precaution with all body fluids.
  • Use isolation precautions when applicable.
  • Make proper use of barriers (gowns, gloves, etc.)
  • Utilize proper handwashing or use of hand sanitizer.
Hand washing

  • Wash for 2 minutes, minimum, when you first arrive at work. 
  • Lather for at least 10 seconds, though 30 seconds is essential.
  • Do not the sink, the tap, dispensers, etc. If you do, restart your time. 
  • Pull out paper towel first so that you do not have to touch the dispenser after you have cleaned your hands. 
  • Rub your finger nails into the palm of your opposite hand in order to clean under your nails and your cuticles. 
  • Rub between your fingers to get your knuckles.
  • Ensure your watch or sleeves are far above your hands… Wash at least one hand-width of your wrists. 

Principles of Asepsis

  • Clean to dirty.
  • Far to near. 
  • Top to bottom.
  • Clean to clean.
  • Dirty to dirty. 
The rules of “when” to wash your hand are some-what common sense… Wash your hands if they are visibly soiled, between patients, and if it has been a while since you’ve washed rather than used hand sanitizer.

User hand sanitizer if you have removed gloves and are still working with the same patient, if you have touched something that is less clean than what you are about to touch, before you pick up something (pen, etc.), etc.

Use common sense. When it doubt, wash your hands.

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