Proper hand washing is one of the critical steps we undertake to avoid falling ill and spreading germs to others. Many conditions and diseases can be spread through poor hand hygiene, and therefore it’s essential to wash your hands using clean running water and soap. If running water is inaccessible, you can use the available clean water and soap. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can substitute soap and water if the two are unavailable. It’s important to note that regular soaps are as effective as antibacterial soaps. In any case, prolonged use of the antibacterial soaps might lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to its antimicrobial agents.
How to wash hands properly
Hand washing can be referred to as a DIY (do-it-yourself) vaccine that you can take to stay healthy and keep respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases at bay. Regular hand washing before and after particular activities has proven to be effective to remove and prevent the spread of germs to others. Hand washing is simple and quick and most importantly prevents diseases. Proper hand washing involves five simple steps namely; Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, and Dry.
- First, you will use clean water running from the tap to wet your hands then apply soap after turning off the tap
- You will then use soap to lather your hands (front and back, under the nails, in between your fingers) by rubbing them with soap.
- Scrub your hands carefully for about twenty to thirty seconds.
- Open the tap to rinse your hands with clean water running from the tap.
- Use a clean towel to dry your hands or simply air dry them
What to do if Soap and Clean Running Water are Unavailable
Washing your hands with water and soap is the best way to eliminate germs on most occasions. However, if soap and water are not accessible, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as mentioned earlier. Although these sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands, they do not eradicate all types of bacteria and might not eliminate harmful chemicals. Hand sanitizers might not also be as effective when your hands are excessively dirty or greasy.
How to use Hand Sanitizers
Hand sanitizers are usually very simple to use. You should read the label for instructions and the correct amount to use for efficacy. Start by applying the sanitizer to the palm of one hand. You will then rub your hands together and apply it over all surfaces, i.e. in between your fingers and the back of your hands until they’re dry.
When to Wash Your Hands
Physicians recommend that you wash your hands especially after these activities that are mostly associated with dangerous germs that cause diseases;
- Before eating food
- After using the toilet
- After handling pet treats or pet food
- After cleaning up a child who has used the toilet or changing diapers
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- After blowing your nose or sneezing
- Before and after caring for a sick individual
- After touching garbage
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After touching an animal, animal waste, or animal feed
Proper hand washing saves lives. Proper hand hygiene can protect you, your family, and many others whether you’re at work, at home, traveling, or even when you’re already sick. It’s crucial to help your children stay healthy by teaching them to wash their hands properly and frequently. You can show your kids how to do it properly by washing your hands with them. Proper hand washing can simply be put as a win for everyone except for the germs.