Every day, we come in contact with millions of germs many of which are very harmful. However, proper hand washing is the simplest and most effective way to remove these harmful germs from our hands.
When to wash hands
Hands are the most common way that germs are spread. We, therefore, should wash our hands very regularly as we can contact germs simply by shaking hands with people and touching dirty surfaces. However, there as specific times in which we must wash our hands, these include:
- Before and after handling, making, and eating food
- After coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose, or touching anybody openings (nose, mouth, etc.)
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after touching a cut, wound, blood, or other body fluids
- After loading and unloading a laundry-washing machine, as the temperature in a washer is not usually high enough to kill germs
- After handling garbage
- Also, after cleaning, especially the bathroom or kitchen
- After handling an animal or animal waste
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child
- Before and after contact with someone ill
How to properly wash hands
We wash our hands daily. However, many people do not know how to properly wash hands. The steps in getting a proper hand wash include:
- Rub hands under clean running water, using warm if available.
- Use liquid soap, since bar soap is usually contaminated.
- Apply soap and gently scrub all surfaces for 20 seconds, paying close attention to the areas between your fingers and under your nails.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry hands using a paper towel. (Hot air dryers were found to significantly increase bacterial growth!)
If possible, use the paper towel to turn off the faucet.
6 benefits of hand washing
1. Creates a safer environment for our family and loved ones at home
The number of germs we are exposed to during our daily interactions at the office and during the day can lead to us carrying around a lot of germs which if not washed regularly can be taken home and can be transferred to our children, family and loved ones.
2. Prevention of diarrhoea and uncomfortable intestinal diseases
Contact with faecal matter laden with the bacteria can lead to diarrhoea and intestinal illnesses. Regular washing of the hands will remove this faecal matter and bacteria from our hands even when we have contacted them from other people or objects.
3. Avoidance of common eye infections
Eye infections are commonly caused by the bacteria that get into the eye from our hands. Keeping the hands clean by regular washing will prevent common infections like conjunctivitis, trachoma etc.
4. Obstruction of respiratory tract infections
In the same way, the bacteria that cause these infections are usually found on dirty hands. Regular washing of the hands will remove these bacteria easily, keeping you safe.
5. Reduction of the bacteria content on your hands
Bacteria have been known to linger on the hands and other objects for days! This means that if you do not wash your hands expecting the bacteria to die, you might be in for a surprise.
Bacteria have been known to thrive on paper bills for as long as two entire weeks. This is scary, but regular hand washing can keep you protected
6. Keeping your workplace free from bacteria
Regular cleaning of commonly used office equipment with an alcohol-based cleaning product can reduce the number of bacteria on them.
Still, this doesn’t save you from their presence. You should also wash your hand regularly to prevent your hands from being the medium through which the bacteria is carried all around the office.