Hand hygiene is among the most important aspects of keeping germs and bacteria at bay. It is a habit taught from very young age to children. Parents often emphasise the importance of cleaning and hand washing to their children. However, research suggests that it is everyone that needs some education on hand sanitising.
Washing your hands daily is very important, but even more so is proper washing. You may think that you have washed your hands, while in reality this may not be the case, according to popular researches. It was discovered that of all people observed only 5% were doing a good job in washing their hands.
You should never cut corners as far as hand washing is concerned. In theory the way to do so is clear: wet with running water, apply soap, rub together while scrubbing, rinse under water and dry. What you probably do not know is that you have to spend at least 20 seconds for this activity in order for it to be effective. You have to be thorough - the back of your hands, under the nails and between the fingers is what you should never forget to clean.
Here are few more facts about hand washing and hygiene you should be aware of:
- Touch may transfer up to 80% of communicable diseases - this includes not merely person-to-person contact. For example, touch refers to contact with food as well as other objects you need to hold in your hands. If your hands are contaminated, which is highly likely, when you touch food you increase the chance of spreading foodborne illnesses like Staph, Salmonella, E.Coli and diarrhea infections. At the same time, touching your own face with dirty hands may easily spread cold, flu and pneumonia, especially if it is the season bloom for these conditions. Think about this for a second the next time you question the need of proper cleaning and hand washing - the number one childhood death cause is pneumonia, followed by diarrhea.
- It is crucial to wash hands every time after going to the bathroom and before preparing food - you now know the risks associated with not washing your hands properly. Because of said risks, it is extremely important to wash your hands before eating. The bathroom is considered bacteria heaven. Consider this fact: each time an open lid toilet is flushed, E.Coli and Staph bacteria are spread to an area that covers up to 6 square feet. The sink areas in public bathrooms are covered in such bacteria, for the most part. Now you have no excuse to skip hand washing after going to the bathroom.
- Under the nails and on the fingertips is where the most bacteria is present - you will do well to remember this, since that will give you an idea what to focus on when you wash your hands. Most people spend all of the time washing the palms of their hands and never consider the fingertips, which is the part of their hands that comes into contact with the most bacteria.
- Dampness on the hands increases the chance of spreading bacteria exponentially - drying your hands after washing them is very important. Yet, only a minor per cent of people do it properly. One good alternative of air drying is using disposable paper towels, which are considered the most sanitary means of drying.
If these facts scare you a little, that is a good thing. The ultimate goal you should aim for is to be more thorough and focused in your hand washing so that you are effective at it.