Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings. Recommendations of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee and the HIPAC/SHEA/APIC/IDSA Hand Hygiene Task Force

Am J Infect Control. 2002 Dec;30(8):S1-46. doi: 10.1067/mic.2002.130391.


The Guideline for Hand Hygiene in Health-Care Settings provides health-care workers (HCWs) with a review of data regarding handwashing and hand antisepsis in health-care settings. In addition, it provides specific recommendations to promote improved hand-hygiene practices and reduce transmission of pathogenic microorganisms to patients and personnel in health-care settings. This report reviews studies published since the 1985 CDC guideline (Garner JS, Favero MS. CDC guideline for handwashing and hospital environmental control, 1985. Infect Control 1986;7:231-43) and the 1995 APIC guideline (Larson EL, APIC Guidelines Committee. APIC guideline for handwashing and hand antisepsis in health care settings. Am J Infect Control 1995;23:251-69) were issued and provides an in-depth review of hand-hygiene practices of HCWs, levels of adherence of personnel to recommended handwashing practices, and factors adversely affecting adherence. New studies of the in vivo efficacy of alcohol-based hand rubs and the low incidence of dermatitis associated with their use are reviewed. Recent studies demonstrating the value of multidisciplinary hand-hygiene promotion programs and the potential role of alcohol-based hand rubs in improving hand-hygiene practices are summarized. Recommendations concerning related issues (e.g., the use of surgical hand antiseptics, hand lotions or creams, and wearing of artificial fingernails) are also included.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohols / therapeutic use
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Chlorhexidine / therapeutic use
  • Hand Disinfection / standards*
  • Hexachlorophene / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Infection Control / standards*
  • Infections / transmission
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Soaps
  • Triclosan
  • Xylenes


  • Alcohols
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
  • Soaps
  • Xylenes
  • Triclosan
  • Hexachlorophene
  • Chlorhexidine