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The Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC

Your Responsibilities
Preventing Infection

Hygiene & Hand Washing

One of the most important, simple and effective ways to prevent infection is to WASH YOUR HANDS. In our daily activities our hands come into contact with a lot of things. So remember to wash them often, especially before you eat or touch your face.

Wash your hands before and after preparing food, after using the bathroom, petting your cat or dog, and touching any soiled object.

The importance of hand washing for patients, family and staff cannot be stressed enough. Hand washing is the number one tool in decreasing the spread of viral and bacterial infections.

When you are an inpatient, each patient’s room has a toilet to be used only by the patient. All hygiene concerns should be immediately reported to the nurse.

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The Right Way to Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water involves fully lathering the hands for at least 30 seconds. Antibacterial soap is not required. Make sure to rub all surfaces vigorously and rinse thoroughly under a stream of water. Use a clean towel at home and if possible, disposable paper towel in public washrooms. Use the paper towel to turn off the faucets and open the door.

Small bottles of hand sanitizers are handy things to have with you. These can be purchased at most pharmacies.

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Other Hygienic Recommendations

  1. Take a shower every day using soap.
  2. If you shower and you have a Hickman® Line, cover it with a plastic wrap and secure it with tape. This will decrease soaking and soiling the dressing. 
  3. For dry skin, you can use a mild moisturizer or baby oil after your shower.
  4. Avoid lotions with alcohol and fragrances since alcohol may cause dry skin.
  5. You should use a clean towel and face cloth every day. Do not share with other family members.
  6. Put on clean underwear and clothes every day after your shower.
  7. Only use new makeup and skin care products.
  8. Spray deodorants may be more hygienic than roll-on deodorants.
  9. Use an electric razor for shaving until otherwise advised by your doctor.
  10. Do not go barefoot as you might accidentally nick, cut or bump your foot.
  11. Any time you wash your hands in a public washroom, dry them with disposable paper towels and use paper towels to turn off faucet handles and open the door.

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Recommendations for Female Patients

  • Avoid douching.
  • After using the bathroom, make sure you wipe from front to back.
  • Avoid using tampons.

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