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When And How To Wash Your Hands

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Hand hygiene is one of the most important things and a hot topic now-days.

While you should practice hand hygiene always to keep off Bacteria and Viruses, it has been in focus because of recent Coronavirus outbreak.

With no cure available at the moment it has been the single most important thing that healthcare organizations such as WHO and CDC have been asking people to do.

The obvious reason for this is to slow down spread of viruses in communities but let us get into more details on why and how to wash your hands.

washing hands with soap and clean water

Hand Hygiene – Why to wash your hands

As per data from World Health Organization, thousands of people die everyday around the world from infections acquired while receiving health care.

Also, many people around the world fall sick due to them getting infected with germs and the primary key players to spread infection had been the hands.

As human beings we perform all our tasks with hands and we extensively use our hands not just to eat food or do our daily tasks but while we talk or express ourselves to others.

Since, we daily touch numerous surfaces with our hands and then also eat food such as sandwich, wraps etc and also many times during the day touch our face,nose or eyes etc it is one of the primary culprit when it comes to spreading the disease.

Eating and working is fine, however why we really touch our face so many times is still a matter of research.

In some cultures such as Indian and other Asian cultures, eating food directly via hand is also quite common.

However this is not just a matter of culture but the food itself for which there are different methods of eating it, such as sandwich, pizza slices which many people like to eat directly via hands.

It is not just about how we eat but also how we greet others that can make hands spread the diseases.

Like in some cultures especially European culture, due to the way in which people greet – like shaking hands often lead to spread of infection from one person to another.

But again, the main idea is not the culture but how much clean we can keep our helpful friends – our hands.

Since, hands help us do so many tasks they will get dirty throughout the day and hence to avoid us contaminating different items such as hand rails, desk etc it is good to wash our hands quite often.

Especially, when we think we might have touched a contaminated surface or met with someone who may be sick already or if they are visibly dirty.

The simple rule could be, if you think your hands are dirty or you have been travelling in public, used wash room, met or greeted someone sick, visited hospitals etc where there is high chances of having some kind of infection then wash your hands.

Hand Hygiene – When to wash your hands

Wash your hands as often as possible. Currently due to threat of Coronavirus, it is always better to wash your hands every hour or so or whenever you feel a need to clean your hands.

The more you effectively wash your hands, your chances of having infection and spreading infection will be quite low.

Under following circumstances you should always wash your hands –

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After activities such as gardening
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick. You may need additional gears such as mask and/or eyeglasses if you are taking care of person sick with Coronavirus.
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage
  • Once your return back to home from public places
  • Immediately after disposing tissue paper which you may have used earlier for coughing or sneezing

Hand Hygiene – How to Wash Your Hand

Now this is quite surprising to find out that almost everybody knows what washing their hands mean but not everybody know how to wash their hands properly.

Washing your hands is easy, and as we know it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent spread of germs.

These are the steps to wash your hands properly –

  • Wet your hands first with some water, clean running water. The water could be cold or warm. Now turn off the tap and apply some soap.
  • Generate some lather by rubbing your palms together with the soap. Apply some soap and generate lather on the back of your hand.
  • Now scrub your hands, back of your hands, between your fingers, back of the fingers, palm to palm with fingers interlaced, rotating and rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice-versa, rotating rubbing backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice-versa. Do this for at-least 20 seconds.
  • Now Rinse your hands with water until they are clean from soap and lather.
  • Use tissues or single use paper towels to dry your hands thoroughly and now close the tap.

Your hands are now clean. The whole procedure should take you less than a minute.

Now, since you are planning to wash your hands regularly it would be a good idea to apply some hand cream or moisturizer or a hand lotion on them after washing or at-least twice a day.

After hand washing do not immediately put on gloves. Let them dry before you wear them.

Hand Hygiene – How to Hand Rub

In the wake of Coronavirus outbreak, Hand Sanitisers have become quite popular among people.

Alcohol based hand-sanitisers are good method to keep your hands clean especially if you do not have access to clean water and soap or you are on the go.

They help to reduce most of the germs on your hands and therefore keep you safe from infections.

If your hands are visibly dirty with grease etc, then you should not use hand rub or hand sanitiser and instead use soap and water to clean your hands.

You should not use hand sanitiser if you have access to clean water and soap.

In case you are on the move and you need to clean your hands using sanitiser then you should follow these steps –

  • Apply a palmful of the hand sanitiser product in a cupped hand, covering all surfaces
  • Rub hands palm to palm
  • Rub right palm over back side of left hand with interlaced fingers.
  • Rub palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
  • Rub back of the fingers to opposite palms with fingers interlocked.
  • Now, perform rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.
  • Rotational Rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice-versa.

By now the hand sanitiser gel would have dried and your hands are clean.

For effective cleaning use a hand sanitiser gel with at-least 60% alcohol in it, the more the better.

Also, until the hand sanitiser is not dried up do not rub your hands with cloth or do not throw excess hand sanitiser else it is not effective.

Always read instructions on the hand sanitiser for appropriate amount that should be used each time to clean your hands.

Since these contain alcohol, avoid hot surfaces and fire.

In the end, we would like to recommend that people should practice good hygiene, keep themselves healthy by eating healthy food, do not fall for mis-information or spread such messages, follow simple steps to avoid spread of virus and do not fall for panic buying and hoarding stuffs.

Keep yourself informed about the viruses from reliable sources to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

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