October 21, 2008
Media Release

Be aware! Practice hand hygiene with care

The Regional Municipality of York celebrates National Infection Control Week:
October 20th to 24th
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York celebrates National Infection Control Week October 20th to 24th, which is traditionally celebrated in Canada and the United States during the third week of October since 1989.
National Infection Control Week provides professionals in the health care and infection control field with an opportunity to highlight the importance of infection prevention and control within the community. 
The goal of this year’s local York Region campaign is to highlight the importance of proper hand hygiene to prevent illness in the workplace and community.
Hands spread an estimated 80 per cent of common infectious diseases, including the flu and common cold.  The single and most effective way to reduce the spread of germs and risk of illness throughout the year is to practice proper hand hygiene.
Practice hand hygiene after the following activities: blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, going to the washroom, visiting someone who is sick, playing outside and touching animals.
It is also important to wash your hands frequently when you are sick, if they look or feel dirty and before eating drinking, touching, cooking or serving food.  The six steps to proper hand washing are:
1.  Remove hand jewellery and wet hands with warm water
2.  Apply liquid soap
3.  Lather hands for 15 seconds
4.  Rinse hands back and front
5.  Dry hands with paper towel
6.  Turn off taps with paper towel
Hand hygiene also includes using alcohol-based sanitizers (with 70-90 per cent alcohol) when soap and water are not available, and when hands are not visibly dirty.  For maximum effectiveness, apply one to two squirts (about the size of a “loonie”) and rub hands together covering all surfaces until they are completely dry. 
Prevent germs from growing under your nails by keeping them clean and short and by keeping nail polish fresh (less than four days old) and free from cracks and chips.  
Along with proper hand hygiene, to help prevent the spread of infection in the workplace and community, York Region Community and Health Services also encourages residents to have an annual flu shot, stay home when they are sick and practice cough etiquette (coughing/sneezing into your upper sleeve or into a tissue). 
For more information on National Infection Control Week, proper hand hygiene or any other health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca

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