Prevent infection by keeping germs away
Clean your hands and
wear protective clothing
Wash your hands often
Washing your hands is one of the most important things you
can do to prevent infection. It prevents you from spreading
germs to another person, and it helps protect you from germs,
too. If you can do nothing else to prevent infection, you must wash your hands.
Wash your hands with soap and clean water. If you do not have soap, you can
use ash (but not dirt!). Be sure to rinse all the soap or ash off. When you wash your
hands, and especially when you rinse them, use clean water that is flowing, not
water sitting in a bowl. When you wash your hands in a bowl, the germs that come
off into the water will get back onto your hands again.
Wash your hands each time before you touch a woman’s body. Wash after you
touch her body, or after you touch anything that has her blood or fluid on it (like
the placenta). Wash before you put on gloves and after you take gloves off. If you
are helping more than one woman at once, like at a hospital, it is very important to
wash between helping each person.
Normal hand washing removes most germs. But sometimes to remove more germs,
you should wash your hands for a full 3 minutes, and scrub under your fingernails.
How to do a 3-minute hand wash
Before you start, take off rings, bracelets, and other jewelry.
Wash your hands and
arms with soap and
clean water — all the
way up to your elbows.
Make sure to scrub in
between your fingers.
If you have a clean brush,
scrub your fingernails.
Keep scrubbing, brushing,
and washing your hands
and arms for 3 minutes!
Spend most of this time
on your hands.
Dry your hands in the air
instead of using a towel.
Do not touch anything
until your hands are dry.
A Book for Midwives (2010)