2.2 Principle I: Take Action to Stay Healthy

Program staff attending in-service trainingTo protect their health, program staff should

  • Stay current on recommended immunizations
  • Follow appropriate hand-hygiene protocols
  • Ensure that staff members receive education and training about the principles of infection control, occupation-related risks for infection, taking measures to prevent exposures, and post-exposure management.1


Programs funded by the Maryland Department of Health’s Office of Oral Health (OOH) should remain current with their adult immunizations as recommended by CDC. Staff should be immunized against hepatitis B and should receive tuberculosis testing and flu shots. Current documentation should be kept on file for each staff member in the infection-control manual established by the health department program coordinator. Each staff member must provide current proof of immunity to or immunization for hepatitis B. A medical waiver signed by a physician must be provided for each staff member unable to receive a vaccine for the aforementioned immunizations.

Hand Hygienehandwashing

Either soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used for cleaning hands. However, hands must be washed with soap and water (not hand sanitizers) when they are visibly soiled, before eating, and after using the restroom.4

Hands must also be cleaned before and after treating each patient, before donning or after removing gloves, after ungloved contact with surfaces or objects that may be contaminated by blood or other potentially infectious matter, and before leaving the operatory.2 Hand hygiene information is available from CDC’s Hand Hygiene Resource web page.

Procedures for hand washing and for the use of hand sanitizers are as follows:

  • Hands should be washed with soap and water that is rubbed vigorously over hands and fingers for 15 seconds before rinsing with cool water and thoroughly drying.
  • If hand sanitizer is used, apply it to hands, and rub hands together as if washing hands until hands are dry.
  • Because hand sanitizers do not remove the powdery residue that can form under gloves, program staff using hand sanitizers should also wash hands periodically with soap and water. Only latex-free gloves should be used.