Proper Hand Washing
Why is it important to wash our hands properly?
We touch a lot of things with our hands, and our hands can carry a lot of germs at any given time. We frequently feel a variety of objects with our hands and then contact our eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Removing these germs can prevent upper respiratory infections, skin infections, eye infections, and a host of gastrointestinal diseases that cause gastroenteritis and diarrhea. Handwashing can prevent approximately 30% of diarrhea-related GI illnesses and about 20% of respiratory infections.
What is the proper/ideal way to wash our hands?
We recommended wetting your hands with running water first before applying soap. Once your hands are wet, you can lather your hands with soap. Make sure to wash your whole hand, including the back of your hands, the fingers and nail beds. Scrub your hand for at least 30 seconds and rinse it with running water. Dry your hand with a clean towel. If there is no soap available, you can use a hand sanitizer that has an alcohol content. The ideal hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol content.
How often should we wash our hands?
A big part of this will depend on what activities you are engaged in. In general, you should always wash your hands before, during, and after the preparation of food. It is especially essential if you are handling raw or uncooked meats and poultry. If you are a healthcare provider or caretaker of someone sick, it’s vital to wash your hands before and after being in contact with them. We should always wash our hands too after using the bathroom. Whenever possible, close the bathroom door with a napkin and discard when leaving the bathroom as not to touch the door handles. One should wash their hands if they are coughing, sneezing, or blowing their nose as well as when dealing with animals and waste. One should also be mindful of washing hands when dealing with garbage, disposable trash, and pet products.
It is not possible to see the germs that reside on a variety of objects that we encounter daily. Proper handwashing hygiene can prevent the spread of infections and keep your family and loved ones safe, and it is one of the easiest and most effective ways to stop the spread of viruses and germs.