We share our world with bacteria and viruses which most of the time present no harm to our health. In fact, some of them can be quite good for us. However, as the recent pandemic has shown us, there are germs that can wreak havoc on our health as well as the life we know it.
As the world is adjusting to the new normal, one of the ways to stop the spread of COVID-19 (and other viruses and germs) is to wash your hands properly. Sometimes people tend to forget to do this or are simply too lazy to do it each time after they used the toilet or got back from outside. However, eating, preparing food or touching your face without washing your hands can cost you your health.
A good way to keep your hands germ-free is to wash and sanitise them using a variety of antibacterial products from soaps to hand gels. Let’s check out the importance of cleaning your hands properly with suitable hygiene products.
Why You Should Wash Your Hands?
Using the toilet, touching raw meat, or even objects like your smartphone, without washing your hands afterwards brings you the risk of getting germs like Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Pretty nasty, right? These germs stay on your hands and can infect you when you touch your face. You can also pass them to other people and objects you touch.
Washing your hands prevents the spread of nasty bacteria and viruses to other people. Thorough handwashing with soap will remove the germs and viruses from your hands. Recently with the spread of the Coronavirus and the world-wide campaign for handwashing, we realised how often and without even noticing, we touch our eyes, mouth, nose and our entire face. This way we’re passing the germs from our hands inside our body, which will easily make us sick.
Additionally, germs from unwashed hands can easily get into foods and drinks when people prepare or consume them. Then the germs will multiply (in some foods or drinks) and can cause sickness to the person who consumes them.
What’s the Technique for Proper Hand Washing?
Although it may seem silly to talk about proper handwashing, you’d be surprised that many people don’t know how to do this. It’s not just wetting your hands, adding some soap and rinsing it. Here are the steps for proper handwashing that will help you clean them thoroughly so no germs are left behind.
Wet your hands with clean running water. Add some soap and start rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds. It’s essential that you rub between your fingers, on top of your hand, around your wrists, rub the tips of your fingers and around your nails, and then thoroughly rinse under running water. Once you washed your hands, turn the water off with your elbow.
Dry your hands properly with a clean towel. If you don’t have a towel, it’s recommended to use a paper towel instead of hand dryers.
Do You Need Antibacterial Soap to Wash Your Hands?
There are special antibacterial soaps on the market to choose from. However, even regular soap does a pretty good job in eliminating germs. Although it isn’t wrong to wash your hands with antibacterial soaps either. Whatever your preferred choice is, the thing that matters is to properly and frequently wash your hands.
When To Use Hand Sanitisers?
But, there are situations where soap and water aren’t available, so how can you clean your hands then? This is when hand sanitisers are useful. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers (with at least 60% of alcohol) can disinfect your hands and efficiently kill any the germs. Hand sanitisers with lower alcohol amounts won’t kill germs effectively (make sure to check how much alcohol these antibacterial products contain before buying). You can also use wet wipes based on 60% alcohol for the same purpose.
Keep in mind that using hand sanitisers and antibacterial wipes is not equal to washing your hands. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers won’t be able to clean your hands as thoroughly if they’re greasy or heavily soiled. Additionally, these products can’t remove pesticides, heavy metals and chemicals from your hands. So, if you have the chance to wash your hands with soap and water, do so instead of using hand sanitisers.
People touch their faces at least 23 times in an hour. Multiply that with the hours you’re awake and you’d feel disgusted with the idea how many germs you can pass to your face only by touching it. You have heard and read many times in the past months, that touching the face is a serious risk of spreading viruses and germs from your hands to your eyes, nose and mouth. Passing viruses or germs inside your body leads to serious infections.
It takes a lot of mindfulness to keep our hands from our faces. Sure, sometimes we must rub our eyes or scratch our nose, but it’s better if we use a tissue or even our upper arm (even shoulder) to scratch our face. But it takes time to break a habit, especially one that we do subconsciously. This is why regular and through washing hands is essential. So, when you really must touch your face, make sure to clean your hands first. Hand sanitisers may not be as efficient as soap and water but if they’re alcohol-based, they’d do the work too.