Hand Washing Prevents the Spread of Infections

December 3, 2007 § 11 Comments

What is the main cause of today’s most problematic infections in hospitals and the community: MRSA, VRE, C. difficile and Pneumonia? Poor hand-hygiene. Regular hand-washing is the best method to prevent the spread of infection. To stop germs from spreading you must wash your hands with soap and water, it is the best way to kill germs. MRSA is found in wounds, armpits, the nose and groin; VRE can be found in the urine, feces and blood; C. difficile germs can be found in feces and Pneumonia is often times airborne, infecting people through cough and sneezes. All of these germs can be spread through skin contact, usually by people contaminating surfaces with dirty hands.

I work in Infection Control/Epidemiological Investigations at a major hospital in New York City and these are some of the most dangerous germs prevalent in hospitals and the community at large. They are very difficult to fight and effect those who are recovering from surgery, other illnesses or those who have been on antibiotics for an long period of time.

There are so many times when discussing hand-washing to friends, family and even patients that the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (alayhi salatu wa sallim) prescription for obligatory ablution (wudu’) comes to mind. To my dissatisfaction, the Sunnat/Tradition of the Holy Prophet (alayhi salatu wa sallim) is generally not something we would discuss while in-servicing staff on proper hand-washing, but it is a topic I thought may be interesting in the blogosphere.

The Prophet Muhammad (alayhi salatu wa sallim) gave specific instructions to cleaning one’s self. In the ritual ablution, Muslims purify themselves. This generally occurs before sunrise and is renewed several times throughout the day when it is broken or violated. This means that hand-washing, a method of infection prevention, is occurring as a religious obligation on Muslims.

This is interesting to me because one of the main responsibilities of our department is to teach patients and visitors the best ways to prevent the spread of infection. This means we explain to patients, the patient’s family and visitors that they must wash their hands often while visiting the patients. We discuss the health of the patients being the priority and how washing with soap and warm water before entering and upon leaving a patient’s room creates a safer environment while they provide emotional support during a patients recovery. Staff and visitor’s hands must also be washed after touching body fluids, bandages or linens of the patients.

In conclusion, giving this public service announcement, also gives me the opportunity to say to Muslims, that renewing your wudu’ regularly also prevents the spread of infection! So mashaAllah to you! If you are regularly renewing your wudu’ you are keeping America safe from spreading infectious diseases like MRSA, VRE, C. difficile and Pneumonial, mashaAllah to you!

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§ 11 Responses to Hand Washing Prevents the Spread of Infections

  • Moleman says:

    Wow. I think you just convinced me to wash my hands. Thank you.

  • titus2woman says:

    Good stuff! I have been meaning to pop by and thank you for sharing your prayer! It was beautiful. I am *FASCINATED* by the how’s and why’s in what we all do, so I especially appreciated your explanation as well. *THANK YOU!*

    I also enjoyed the race talk. It’s a subject I never weary of and have been wanting to talk about too. Where does the time go? LOL! (((((HUGS))))) sandi~off to try to fit in a little more reading here….

  • Merazul says:

    As’salamu ‘alaikum,

    Hows things?

    The wisdom of the Beloved Prophet (Sall’Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’alihi Wa’sallam) is a guide and blessing for the entire Ummah.

    Recently, a reseacrh in the UK showed that if you callapse (due to a heart attack, feinting, death, etc) whilst stepping with your right foot, you will fall fowards. If you are stepping with your left foot whilst you callapse, you will fall backwards. Subhan’Allah! The Beloved Prophet (Sall’Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’alihi Wa’sallam) told us to step with our right foot when entering the Masjid, so if we callapse during that instance we would fall into the Masjid. And, if we step into the bathroom with out left foot first (Sunnah way) and we callapse at that moment, we would fall back out of the impurity of the bathroom. So, following the Sunnah has spritual and practical benefits.

    May Allah Ta’ala give all of us the ability and courage to follow and the spread the Sunnahs of his most Beloved, Hazrat Muhhammad Mustafa (Sall’Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’alihi Wa’sallam).

  • pistolpete says:

    Interesting take on Muslim teaching. Laws of hygeine are also prominent in the Judeo-Christian tradition, particularly in dietary laws. Thanks for the post.

  • Rfdraper3 says:

    I must admit that you are right about the hand washing thing. I am and American Muslim living in Yemen and let me tell you, these people are not allways on the Sunna when it concerns washing their hands. Most of them don’t take a bath everyday. They are good people, but they need to follow the Suanna more when it comes to cleanliness. If they did, sicknesses in Yemen would be less.

  • darvish says:

    A good lesson on hygiene 🙂 In a hospital also, I have read that many are now not allowing doctors to wear ties, since this is the one article of clothing that is rarely cleaned, and contains many germs. Is that also true in your hospital?

    Ya Haqq!

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    as-salaamu ‘alaikum everyone. I’m getting back to your comments kinda late but… better late than never, right?

    Moleman:

    “Wow. I think you just convinced me to wash my hands. Thank you.

    Just doing my job… literally.

    titus2woman:

    “I have been meaning to pop by and thank you for sharing your prayer!”

    Please don’t mention it. We should do that kind of thing more often and perhaps we could make this world a better place.

    Merazul:

    “The wisdom of the Beloved Prophet (Sall’Allahu Ta’ala Alayhi Wa’alihi Wa’sallam) is a guide and blessing for the entire Ummah. “

    Not only for the Muslim Ummah, but all mankind.

    pistolpete:

    “Laws of hygeine are also prominent in the Judeo-Christian tradition, particularly in dietary laws.”

    Well after all pistolpete we are referring to the same Lord, the Creator of the Heavens and Earth whom we’ve all come to know through our ancestor the Prophet Abraham (a.s.).

    Rfdraper3:

    “They are good people, but they need to follow the Suanna more when it comes to cleanliness.”

    We all need to follow the Sunnah more, inshaAllah we all will.

    Irving:

    “I have read that many are now not allowing doctors to wear ties, since this is the one article of clothing that is rarely cleaned, and contains many germs. Is that also true in your hospital?”

    It is discouraged by some Chiefs and Department heads but certainly not a standard. And it will be a struggle to get old school attendings to part with neck ties.

    -Fulani

  • Asalaamu alikum wa rahamatullah,

    I wanted to say jazak’allah khair for your post.

    Alhamdulillah, everyone in Islam has wisdom behind it, whether known or not, understood or not, is another matter entirely.

    May Allah grant us knowledge and action upon this knowledge.

    An interesting blog.

    Wa salaamu alikum wa rahmatullah

    Don’t be sad
    http://dontbesadblogl.wordpress.com

  • Zahrah says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    Asalaamu Alaikum Saifuddin.

    Thank you for speaking about this issue. It is sooo important. I just found this site by accident. I am enjoying reading the articles and seeing the photos.

    I worked in the same place as Abir and Salih. I left there to work somewhere else so they will pay for nursing school…Btw, ask Abir what he should wear to go into a room “Under Precautions”…I have the photos on my cellphone of Abir with mask, gloves and gown…I go to a masjid elsewhere but told Abir and Salih that I plan on making it to maghrib and isha prayers one Thursday evening in Sidney Center!

    Keep up the good work on this site…I will continue to enjoy reading your articles..

    Salaams,
    Zahrah

  • Saifuddin says:

    BismillaharRahmanirRahim

    wa ‘alaikum as-salaam Zahrah! MashaAllah, I’m glad you stopped by! I told Salih and Abir that you mentioned them on my blog.

    How are the boys? I’ll be seeing you all soon inshaAllah.

    -Saifuddin

  • Seyfettin says:

    I don’t know anything about that Atheo.

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