Ignaz Philip Semmelweis (1818-1867) championed the importance of hand washing among the medical professional. Yet there is no other procedure which is simple and cost effective in preventing the spread of infections in hospital environment. Throughout the nineteenth century, physicians were realizing the value of soap as a medicinal agent. In the History of Medicine,A well-known protagonist of soap was scientist and educator Ignaz Phillipp Semmelweis, who in 1847 discovered the infectious etiology of puerperal fever and therefore required medical students to wash their hands before they examined patients. Semmelweis encouraged his colleagues to adopt his antiseptic methods, telling them, "while we talk, talk, talk, gentlemen, women are dying. I am not asking anything world-shaking. I am asking you
only to wash.… F
or God's sake, wash your hands." In a circular handed out in Budapest during the summer of 1865, he implored new mothers: "Unless everything that touches you is washed with soap and water and then chlorine solution, you will die and your child with you!" It is utmost important duty of every medical, paramedical and nursing staff to educate, promote and monitor hand washing. In spite of more than a century of knowledge many times, this simple procedure is ignored by the many senior staff. The simple procedure of hand washing is the best prayer in prevention of infections in a hospital, continues to be the best remedy in reducing the hospital acquired infections. The basis of spread of infections in hospital is that microbes are commonly exchanged from patients to patients, patients to medical staff and medical staff to patients In the above methods of spread our hands play a great role in transmission of infections. By simple procedure of hand washing the chain of events in spread can be minimized. Methods of hand washing 1. Social hand washing 2. Hygienic hand washing or disinfection 3. Surgical hand washing 1. Social hand washing Most commonly practiced procedure involves vigorous mechanical friction applied to all surfaces of hand using simple plain (toilet) soap and water for 15-20 seconds. If no running water is available store water in a clean container, close lid and only necessary amount drawn to the needs with a clean mug.