Hand Cleanliness: How and When to Wash Your Hands Properly
As simple as it might seem, proper handwashing remains the best method of removing germs and harmful microscopic organisms from our hands.
This forestalls the spread of illnesses, which protects your health. Research demonstrates that handwashing brings down the chances of certain respiratory and gastrointestinal infections by as much as 23% and 48% respectively.
There are many approaches to keeping your hands clean. The usual techniques that are used in many working environments are to use soap and water, or effective alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water isn't easily available. GNA Naturals produces safe, effective 100% alcohol-based sanitizer to keep your hands germ-free.
Paying attention to hand washing gets easier when we know the advantages of keeping our hands clean. However, hand washing also needs to be supplemented with a clean and safe environment.
Where Can You Find the Most Bacteria?
Microscopic organisms are everywhere, even inside our bodies. Some of them are good and necessary for our bodies to function properly, while others can cause infections. If they overwhelm your immune system, you get sick.
The place in our home and work environments where microbes are most abundant is the restroom. For evident reasons, germs linger in restrooms until they can be picked up from different surfaces by contact and transported. The germs often end up on cell phones, garments, and door handles, and inside your body. You need to properly wash your hands because that is the primary line of defense against any bacterial infection.
There are disturbing stats that show a large number of credit cards and cell phones have tested positive for traces of fecal waste.
A study led by the Harvard Medical School shows that 94% of the dollar notes currently in circulation have tested positive for infectious germs and bacteria.
When Should You Wash Your Hands?
As you come into contact with people, surfaces, and objects during the day, you gather germs on your hands. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, or spread them to other people through a handshake. Although it's difficult to keep your hands free from germs, washing your hands frequently can help limit the exchange of microscopic organisms, infections, and different germs.
You should always wash your hands before:
- Preparing or eating food
- Treating wounds or taking care of a sick person
- Inserting or removing contact lenses
You should always wash your hands after:
- Preparing food
- Using the toilet, changing a diaper, or cleaning up a child who has used the bathroom
- Touching an animal, animal food, or animal waste
- Blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Treating wounds or cleaning up a sick individual
- Dealing with trash
- Dealing with pet food or pet treats
- Also, wash your hands when they are obviously dirty.
Step-by-step Instructions for Washing Your Hands
It's usually best to wash your hands with soap and water. Over-the-counter antibacterial soaps generally don’t work any better than regular soap and water.
Follow these steps while cleaning your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean, running water — either warm or cold.
- Apply soap and lather well.
- Rub your hands together firmly for 15 to 20 seconds. Make sure to clean all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
- Rinse well.
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air-dry them.
The Most Effective Method for Using Alcohol-based Hand Sanitizer
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is a worthy alternative when soap and water aren't accessible. Be sure, however, that your hand sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol. Follow these steps:
- Apply the gel sanitizer to the palm of one hand. Look at the label to see how much you need.
- Rub your hands together.
- Rub the gel over all the surfaces of your hands and fingers until your hands are dry.
Does It Make a Difference What Type of Soap You Use?
Plain soap is as good as over-the-counter antibacterial soap for cleaning hands. Truth be told, research has discovered that antibacterial soaps aren't any more successful at eliminating germs than ordinary soap.
In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited using the antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban. The reasons given by the FDA for the ban included:
- Antibacterial resistance
- Systemic absorption
- Endocrine (hormone) disturbance
- Allergic responses
If you happen to have a stash of antibacterial soap, it's best not to use it. Toss it out and simply use regular soap.
Additionally, there's no proof that water temperature has any kind of effect. As indicated by one study, washing your hands with warm water doesn't appear to dispose of more germs than washing with cold.
It’s good to know that it's fine to use any temperature of water that is available to you and any ordinary liquid or bar soap that’s handy.
Hand cleanliness is a simple, easy, proof-based activity that can help protect your health and the safety of others.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and health institutions worldwide have called for thorough and cumulative efforts to improve external cleanliness practices such as handwashing.
Despite the fact that washing your hands with plain soap and clean, running water is the favored strategy for hand cleanliness, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can also be a good choice.
Proper hand cleanliness isn't a measure to be practiced only during pandemics and flu season. It's a tried-and-tested preventive that should be done diligently and carefully to have the best impact on individual, community, and worldwide well-being.