Did you even think that you can wash away illnesses by simply following a simple and easy hygiene technique? Washing hands can protect you from a wide range of illnesses and help you to stay healthy. In fact, failing to wash or inadequately washing hands leads to almost 50% of foodborne illnesses. Improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Here’s more about how, when and why yo wash your hands.
When To Wash Your Hands?
There’s no set frequency or rules as to when you should wash your hands. It depends on the activities you carry out. Here are some key times when you must ensure having clean hands as advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
-Before and after preparing food and eating food
-After using the toilet
-After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
-Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick
-Before and after treating a cut or wound
-After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
The Art Of Handwashing
Follow these five steps to effectively wash your hands
-Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Remember to turn off the tap while doing so.
-Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Don’t forget the part between your fingers, and under your nails.
-Rub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end.
-Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
-Dry your hands using a clean towel.
-Don’t be in a hurry. It takes less than a minute to properly wash and dry your hands!
Handwashing Vs Sanitizers
Washing your hands with soap and water is a sure shot way to get rid of germs. However, if water and soap is not available, make it a habit to use sanitizers. Here are few tips on how to use sanitizers the right way:
-Apply the sanitizer to the palm of one hand (read the label to use the correct amount).
-Rub your hands together.
-Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry. This should take around 20 seconds.
Do note, sanitizers containing at least 60%-95% alcohol are the most effective in killing germs.
Let “your hands are crawling with germs” be old old news. What should be new, is a seemingly clean pair of hands.
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Handwashing. Hygiene Fast Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/fast_facts.html
2. When and How to Wash Your Hands. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html