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Clean hands


At St. Jude we strive to provide our patients and their families with the best and safest care possible. You play a critical role in ensuring quality care for your child. St. Jude patients often have weak immune systems because of their diseases and treatments. This means they have a greater risk for getting infections. Sometimes these infections can be life-threatening.

The easiest and most important thing you can do to prevent infection is to clean your hands.

When should you clean your hands?

  • After using the restroom
  • After changing diapers or cleaning a child that has been to the toilet
  • Anytime you have direct contact with a patient, including your own child
  • Before entering a patient room and after leaving a patient room
  • After coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
  • After going outside and after touching pets
  • Before and after eating
  • Before and after feeding your child

How should you clean your hands?

  • Use soap and water if:
    • Your hands are visibly dirty;
    • You have touched blood or other body fluids; or
    • You are about to handle or prepare food.
  • At other times you may wash with soap and water or use an alcohol-based gel or foam hand-cleaning product. Both methods work well to kill germs.

Steps for using alcohol-based hand-cleaning products

You can buy these gels and foams in any drug store or grocery store. To use:

  • Place a palm-size amount of the foam or liquid in your hand; and
  • Rub hands together until they are dry.
5 moments for clean hands

Steps for cleaning hands effectively with soap and water

  • Get your hands wet.
  • If you are using liquid soap place an amount about the size of a quarter in your hand.
  • Work up a good lather.
  • Rub your hands together for 15–20 seconds, and apply firm pressure as you do so.
  • Make sure you wash the entire surface of your hands and wrists, include backs of hands and between fingers.
  • Rinse your hands with your palms down.
  • Dry your hands with paper towels; a clean cloth towel is fine for home use.
  • If you are in a public place, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the restroom door.


To learn more about the importance of clean hands and how to keep them clean, ask your child’s nurse.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

تنبيه: إذا كنت تتحدث باللغة العربية فيمكنك الاستعانة بخدمات المساعدة اللغوية المتوفرة لك مجانا. .يرجى الاتصال بالرقم. 5833-278-866-1  (الهاتف النصي: 1040-595-901-1).