Even though it might seem basic, hand washing is still the single most efficient way to eliminate bacteria and germs from hands.
Given that our hands are the body part which most frequently comes in contact with our mouth, keeping them clean is the first step in prevention of various diseases.
It is not hard at all to have clean hands – using soap or sanitizing liquids based on alcohol are the most common ways of taking care of your hand hygiene in the workplace or at home.
However, many people take their hands for granted and seem to have forgotten the lessons they were taught when they were kids. In order to fully realize the importance of handwashing, it might be useful to talk about the good sides of clean hands as well as clean surroundings.
Given that bacteria are almost omnipresent, we could say that everything that surrounds us is one big danger area, especially if we consider the chances for something harmful to reach our hands sooner or later. Once bacteria are on our hands, it is a matter of time before they enter our body, and then it is up to our immune system to fight for our health.
Inside our house, bacteria can reside in a number of places, but the room in which they are most likely to be found in more significant quantities is – you guessed it – the bathroom. Due to a lot of moisture and the fact that we perform our bodily functions there, bathrooms are great places for bacteria to thrive.
It is very easy to pick up bacteria during every toilet visit and our hands then help them spread all around the house – we touch our mobile phones, door knobs, furniture – each time transferring some of potentially harmful microorganisms to our surroundings. Hand washing, therefore, can be considered the basic tool for fighting bacterial spread.
Harvard Medical School’s research on the state of paper money in the US features a troubling piece of statistics – namely, according to the research, 94% percent of the circulating paper money contains some amount of fecal waste on its surface. For those who were wondering – no, credit cards are not spared, they too tested positive on fecal waste.
Given the way we use them, it is not surprising at all to find out that our smartphones aren’t very clean either.
Everybody should be concerned with the aforementioned facts – even if you are convinced your immunity is strong enough to keep fighting external threats, you need to think about people who you might inadvertently put in danger by helping the spread of bacteria.
Kids and the elderly, as well as people suffering from diseases, such as HIV, which affect their immunity – these are the groups which would benefit from responsible handwashing practices.
But it is not enough to be conscientious and wash your hands regularly. It is also extremely important to know the proper way in which to wash hands, because only by washing them properly can you expect to have clean and germ-free hands.
WHAT IS THE RIGHT WAY TO WASH HANDS?
We grow up surrounded by different opinions formulated as rules which attempt to tell us what the proper way to wash our hands is. However, most medical experts would agree that, after we soap them, we need to rub our hands for at least a quarter of a minute before we wash the soap away.
It is not, however, enough to just put some soap on and rub without a plan. If you want it to make any difference, handwashing needs to be properly systematic. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to ensure the best effects.
- First turn the tap on and put your hands in the water, making sure they are properly soaked
- Take some soap (liquid one is a good idea) and make sure you spread it over your palms and the back of the hands
- When you are sure that you have enough soap on your hands, start rubbing them. Rub your palms first, then use the palms to rub the back of your hands
- Use fingers to rub the space between the fingers of the opposite hand
- Use your thumbs to rub the area below the thumb on the opposite hand
- Use palms to rub each finger and thumb separately
- Once you are sure you rubbed both hands thoroughly enough, put them in the water again and wash the soap away
- Use a towel to dry your hands and turn off the water.
HOW MUCH HANDWASHING IS ENOUGH HANDWASHING?
You will often hear that it is important to wash one’s hands regularly. However, this is not a very clear instruction. A better piece of advice would probably be to wash your hands whenever a need arises, and, when there is no apparent need, to wash them preventively a couple of times.
All in all, it is smart to wash your hands when:
- You have used the toilet
- You have touched objects which are famous for hosting bacteria, such as the aforementioned smartphones, money and credit cards, door knobs in public places, straphangers in public transport etc.
- You cough or sneeze into them
- They get dirty for any reason
- You prepare to eat or make food.
WHY HANDWASHING IS GOOD FOR EVERYBODY
When we are kids, our parents make sure we wash our hands regularly, even though we personally don’t feel like we should. When we grow up, we become aware of the benefits of handwashing, however, without someone to constantly remind us, we tend to neglect this habit and only wash hands when it is absolutely necessary.
Reading about benefits of handwashing may help people motivate themselves to establish this useful habit. The list that follows attempts to list some of the positive impacts of handwashing:
1) Slower spread of bacteria in the environment (home, workplace)
It is almost impossible to think of a way in which the spread of bacteria would be completely halted, but habits like handwashing can definitely slow down the process. Basic facilities for hand washing are available almost everywhere these days, so there is no excuse for not performing this easy, but essential task.
2) Less bacteria on one’s hands
There is no other way for bacteria to disappear from your hands than by washing them or applying some kind of alcohol-based sanitizer. In any case, regular hand hygiene habits may sometimes save you from troubles.
3) Prevention of respiratory infections
Did you know that respiratory infections mostly come from the bacteria which can be found on hands that are dirty? Be it tonsillitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, flu or just the common cold, all can be prevented by a simple handwashing.
4) Prevention of infections of the eye
Just like they can cause respiratory problems, the bacteria that can be found on one’s hands, due to the fact that the hands come into contact with the eyes, can cause a number of extremely unpleasant problems with the eyes, such as trachoma or conjunctivitis.
5) Prevention of gastrointestinal diseases
This type of diseases is usually caused by the bacteria which can be found in fecal matter. This is why washing hands after going to the toilet is so essential – diarrhoea and other illnesses are only one tap on the mouth away from happening.
TO CONCLUDE – WASH YOUR HANDS TO STAY HEALTHY
Given the fact that in our daily lives we almost constantly come into contact with various bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, one could say there is absolutely no way to protect yourself from getting sick.
However, even though there is some truth to the claim that absolute protection is impossible, there are a number of measures available for us to increase the chances of staying healthy.
In the workplace environment, washing hands is an absolute must. If companies have limited access to water, there are hand sanitizers available which kill bacteria without the need to get your hands wet.
Fresh & Clean solutions for business are perfect for companies of all sizes. A wide range of hygiene solutions for businesses offered by Fresh and Clean ensures that all the workplace scenarios are covered.
In case you have some additional questions on how our products can satisfy your company’s needs, call us today, and together we will surely find the best possible solution for your business.
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay Images by gentle07