Washing Hands: When and How to Do It Right
If there’s one good thing that Covid-19 brought in its wake, it’s instilling in us the habit of washing hands repeatedly. It is an important hygiene routine that goes a long way in reducing the risk of contracting diseases.
When do you need to wash your hands?
1. It’s a good practice to wash your hands several times a day. But, it’s especially important to do so in relation to these activities.
2. After you use the toilet or change diapers. You don’t want to go from diapers to donuts without washing your hands.
3. Before you start cooking and after you finish. It’s hard to track where those hands have been and you don’t want germs in your food. Make sure you’re also washing your hands after handling raw meats.
4. Before you eat anything.
5. After using a tissue or handkerchief for any purpose.
6. Before and after you take care of sick people
7. After smoking (although we recommend not smoking in the first place)
8. After you dispose of waste, or do a spot of gardening
9. After you pet your furry friends.
What happens if you don’t wash your hands?
Even though not all germs are bad, there are some really nasty ones out there. You need to ensure you don’t fall prey to them or spread them to someone else. Let us find out what could happen if you don’t do the needful.
1. When you slick back your hair or style your mustache, bacteria from the hair get transferred to your hands. If you touch your face or eat after that without washing your hands, you might end up ingesting germs
2. Touching your face without washing your hands increases your chances of transferring bacteria that cause acne.
3. Ever eaten scrumptious street-side grub and fallen sick with diarrhea and fever the next day? It might have been caused by harmful microbes in the food. It’s of paramount importance to wash your hands before and after cooking as well as eating.
4. A single gram of poop has trillions of germs. One tiny sneeze can travel at a speed of 100 miles per hour and spread 100,000 contagious germs. A person, who hasn’t washed their hands after using the toilet or sneezing, can transfer germs to objects that others use. This can lead to diarrhea, respiratory infections, as well as skin and eye infections
5. A large number of infectious diseases can be spread from one person to another through contaminated hands. These include gastrointestinal infections caused by bacteria like salmonella, and also respiratory infections, such as influenza. Some forms of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections can have serious medical complications, especially for young children, the elderly, or those with a weak immune system
How to wash your hands properly?
Wet your hands with warm or cold water and lather with soap
1. Start by rubbing your palms together as well as the back of your hands.
2. Then rub between your fingers by interlinking them
3. Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
4. Clean the back of your fingers and your fingernails.
5. Do not forget to wash your wrists.
6. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
7. Rinse your hands with clean running water.
8. Dry with a towel or air-dry them.
Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi are the primary causes of infections. We come in contact with innumerable things throughout the day. If we touch one surface that contains any of these organisms and don’t wash our hands after, we can be infected by or be the carrier of a large number of preventable diseases. So, wash your hands and be safe.
1. Best M, Neuhauser D. Semmelweis and the birth of infection control. Qual Saf Health Care 2004; 13: 233–4.
2. Which Soap is Best? Department of Health. https://www.health.state.mn.us/people/handhygiene/how/bestsoap.html (accessed Feb 9, 2021).
3. When and How to Wash Your Hands. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html (accessed Mar 2, 2021).