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Hand Hygiene in Hospitals

The Revolution of hand-washing

CC News, July 2013, Michelle Holshue

"One of the most remarkable developments of the last 50 years is the awakening of a sanitary conscience. It is a new thought to many men that the care of the body and cleanliness of surroundings are very considerable factors in the comfort, safety, and even the life and health of their fellow men.”

  • —Surgeon General Hugh Cumming, 1928.

This image was featured in the Clinical Center Newsletter from July 2013 (PDF).

Find the entire catalog of NIH Clinical Center Newsletters, dating back until 1987.


Images and Resources on the NIH History website

poster demonstrating corrent handwadhing techniques from 1946

Washington State Dept. of Social and Health Services, 1985

There are more posters and other images, available through the Photographs page, including the following:

  • NIH Photo Galleries - This page has links to photo galleries from the NIH Almanac.  It includes the NIH image gallery with current photos from NIH’s institutes and centers, Presidential images, photos of the NIH campus, and some historic photos.
  • Our Collection - Search our database for photographs in our collection.  Please note that most images we have are not yet included in this database.  Contact us if you cannot find what you need. 
  • Our Flickr - We’ve arranged a selection of our images into albums on Flickr to make it easier to find, and download, them.
  • National Library of Medicine - We have shared many images, pamphlets, and posters in the collection with the National Library of Medicine, but they have their own large collection of images too.

Also check out our Posters Exhibit, which contains examples of bio-medical posters through the ages.



Current Hand Hygiene Information Resources:

Information about Hand Hygiene in Healthcare settings: https://www.cdc.gov/handhygiene/ 

Non-hospital handwashing information: https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html

photograph of someone washing their hands with soap

Image courtesy of Centers for Disease Control (CDC)