Utskrivet 2018-06-23

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[Basic hygiene and staff hygiene procedures]

Basic hygiene procedures should be applied at every treatment and healthcare site (SOSFS 2015:10), regardless of the healthcare provider and form of treatment. The information in The Handbook for Healthcare covers more than the recommendations from National Board of Health and Welfare, in order to increase the users' understanding of basic hygiene.

The objective is to prevent cross infection

  • between patients, via hands and clothing of the staff (transmission by indirect contact)
  • from patients to staff and from staff to patients (direct transmission)

Basic hygiene procedures include

  • work clothes
  • hand hygiene, i.e. always hand disinfection, sometimes hand washing
  • gloves
  • protective clothing: disposable plastic aprons or protective gowns (patient specific)
  • sometimes splash protection: masks, protective goggles/visors (or visors for the whole face)
  • sometimes breathing masks

This symbol is used in The Handbook for Healthcare when basic hygiene procedures must be applied:


Apply basic hygiene procedures

Work Clothes

All staff categories must wear short-sleeved work clothes during examinations, care and treatment that require personal contact with patient or bed. Short-sleeved work clothes and hands and forearms free from watches and jewellery are a prerequisite to good hand hygiene.

Work Clothes:

  • can be made of disposable or reusable material
  • should be provided by the employer
  • only to be used at the workplace even if the employer does not provide work clothes
  • to be changed daily and always if contaminated
  • must be washed at a minimum temperature of 60oC in a laundry or in exceptional cases in a controlled process at the work place
  • must be stored so that they remain clean.

A clean, short-sleeved singlet/shirt may be worn under work clothes as well as underwear, socks and headscarf/veil.


Long hair must be pinned up and beards restrained so that they do not fall or disrupt work. If you are a carrier of staphylococci even individual strands of hair can spread infections. If you use a headscarf it must be pinned so that it does not fall; any hanging parts must be tucked into work clothes. It must be changed daily.

Hair covers are required in some places of work such as operating theatres and sterile rooms.


Rings, bracelets and wristwatches may not be worn in connection with healthcare work. They collect bacteria and prevent satisfactory hand hygiene. They can also injure the skin of patients.

Earrings and other jewellery piercings may be worn as long as they do not hang or dangle in the work area. Piercings present a transmission risk via the hands if the piercing hole  is infected. There is no proven infection risk if the piercing hole has healed, regardless of the site.


Remember that many patients are sensitive to strong odour such as perfume or smoke.


Translation: Robert Smyth and Språk & Co.

Yvonne Greitz, hygiensjuksköterska, Vårdhygien Stockholms län, Danderyds sjukhus

Ulrika Ransjö, överläkare, docent, Sektionen för vårdhygien, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala

Gunilla Edstedt, hygiensjuksköterska, Karolinska universitetssjukhuset, Solna

Inga Zetterqvist, hygiensjuksköterska, Folkhälsomyndigheten, Stockholm