Medical Hygiene

Hygiene is the corruption of medicine by morality. - H. L. Mencken

It is important that first aid procedures be conducted with due regard for the danger of cross-infection. Simple rules of personal hygiene and wearing gloves are sufficient to guard both the first aid provider and the casualty from contamination when treating or caring for a casualty.


  • wash hands with soap and water, or rinse with antiseptic ensure that hands are washed thoroughly
  • place a barrier between you and the casualty's body fluids such as latex gloves
  • if available, gloves should always be worn
  • take care not to touch any unclean object when wearing gloves once hands are washed
  • if possible, use a protective cover over clothing
  • cover any adjacent areas likely to produce infection


  • use a face shield or mask with a one-way-valve or filter, if available, when doing active resuscitation
  • use only clean bandages and dressings
  • avoid coughing, breathing, or speaking over the wound
  • avoid contact with body fluids
  • avoid treating more than one casualty without washing hands and changing gloves


  • clean up both casualty and yourself
  • clean up the immediate vicinity
  • dispose of dressings, bandages, sharps, gloves and soiled clothing safely and correctly
  • wash hands with soap and water thoroughly, even if gloves were used