Animals

Hand Washing – Why it’s Important and How to Wash Hands Properly?

Hand Washing

Hand Washing: Hands are the biggest carriers of most germs and viruses. Around all day, you collect germs, bacteria and dust on your hands by touching various objects, surfaces or other people and then infect yourselves by touching your face or others by coming in contact with them. Thus, hand washing is inevitable to stay protected against infectious diseases.

While washing hands has been essential in regular life to stay healthy, it is Covid-19 that actually made people understand the importance of hand hygiene since the virus can survive on surfaces for hours and days. Hence, making it all the more critical to wash the hands every day.

 

Importance of Hand washing: 

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best safeguard against the spread of germs, viruses and bacteria through things we come in contact with.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests washing and scrubbing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds. Refraining from washing hands for 20 seconds and rushing through the process can lead to cross-contamination.

Research shows that washing hands reduce the occurrence rate of several gastrointestinal and respiratory infections significantly. So, CDC states that washing your hands properly protects you from letting the virus enter your respiratory tract.

However, many people do not get the importance of handwashing and still avoid washing their hands properly. It’s high time to understand that regular handwashing can restrict the transfer of microbes like germs, viruses and bacteria.

 

How to Wash Hands Properly? 

Your efforts go in vain when you do not wash your hands properly and more importantly, as stated above, it can lead to cross-contamination or increased illness. So, washing hands rightly is pretty important.

 

Here are the steps to hand washing correctly:  

  • Wet your hands with clean and running water.
  • Cover all the surfaces of your hands with soap and water. Many people use soap before using water. However, you should use water first, then soap.
  • Now rub your palms together to create a foam.
  • Ensure that palms, fingertips, wrists and fingernails are covered with water and soap.
  • Next, rub the palm of one hand above the back of another hand and clean in between your fingers properly. Repeat the process with the other hand.
  • Clean the back of your fingers by rubbing them against the opposite palm and do it the other way round for the other hand.
  • Like this, scrub your hands and wrist for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • If you have a clean nail brush, clean your fingernails gently with it and remove all the dirt stuck under nails.
  • Wash off your hands and wrists under running water.
  • Lastly, dry your hands and wrists with a clean and soft towel or air-dry them.
  • Turn off the tap by using a towel.

 

Times When You Must Wash Your Hands

You should wash your hands in those circumstances where transmission of germs and bacteria is most probable. Here’s a list of situations that includes the need for washing hands:

  • About to eat food and after you have eaten.
  • Before and after you cook food
  • Before taking medicines
  • Using public transport or visiting public spaces
  • Visiting a hospital, clinic or any other healthcare setting.
  • Come in contact with some who is ill with infectious disease.
  • Touching your or anyone else’s mobile phone
  • Cleaning a wound
  • Your hands have touched a dirty surface
  • If you have sneezed, coughed or blowed your nose
  • Have touched any surface in a public space
  • Used the bathroom
  • Changed the diaper of young children or clean someone’s body waste.
  • Have touched animals or their food
  • Handled garbage bag or touched any high-contact surface like switchboard, doorknobs, tables etc.
  • Shaken hands with someone or had any physical contact

Ideal Water Temperature to Wash Hands

People find washing hands with hot or lukewarm water safer and better because heat kills bacteria. But experts state that there is not much difference between hot or cold water. You need very hot water to kill bacteria or other pathogens, and you cannot use that hot water on your skin, as it can lead to skin burning.

So, warm water is not going to kill any germs or bacteria. You can wash your hands at any temperature you prefer. Simply put, you can wash your hands with running water, and it won’t be an issue. In fact, the cold water running from the tap also saves the energy you use to get hot water.

 

Use Any Soap You Like 

Generally, everyone considers washing their hands with anti-bacterial soap since the name itself implies ”against bacteria”. However, research suggests that anti-bacterial soaps are not effective to kill germs, viruses or bacteria.

As a matter of fact, soaps that contain antibacterial elements might just be growing stronger bacteria. So, you should use your regular soap to wash your hands, and it will surely do you good. You can use plain soap and water to remove microbes from your hands.

The FDA banned the use of antibacterial agents like triclosan and triclocarban because they create hormone disruption, cause allergic reactions and are ineffective. You can choose to go for liquid soap, bar soap or regular soap – any of them is fine.

 

What Should You Do When Soap is Unavailable? 

You should still wash your hands if there is no soap available at your place, office or public restroom. Wash your hands with water exactly the way you wash them when there is soap. Follow the above-stated step-by-step method of washing your hands.

While washing hands using soap is highly efficient and favourable, only in a situation where there is no soap, washing your hands with water is helpful and workable.  

 

If Both Soap and Water are Unavailable, Use a Hand Sanitizer

No doubt, washing with soap and water is the most reliable way to protect your hands, but you cannot always find them everywhere. So, using hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content can be a good alternative.

Hand sanitizers containing more than 60 per cent alcohol work effectively to eliminate harmful bacteria from the skin. Although, hand sanitizers do not kill any microbes and remove dirt, oil or chemicals from your hands.

You can use a hand sanitizer when you are outside since, along with, being effective it is handy. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective in destroying disease-causing pathogens like the flu virus, E. coli, HIV etc.

However, the only concern is like the good side – the alcohol-based hand sanitizer has a dark side. Often people tend to overuse alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which can have negative effects on their body.

Alcohol-based sanitizers can be skin-harming. They can cause skin irritation, dry skin, flakiness, itching and skin issues like dermatitis or eczema. Someone with sensitive skin might face a little harsher consequence of using a hand sanitizer.

 

foamtize

Image via RxSAFE

 

So, you can choose Foamtize – a skin-nourishing foam-based hand wash with no alcohol formula Foamtize is best for your on-the-go protection, you can carry it everywhere you go. RxSAFE Foamtize does not contain alcohol but works tough to protect against 99.9% of germs, viruses and bacteria while being soft on the skin.

 

Protect Your Hands

Hand washing is important but taking care of them is equally important. After you have washed your hands and dried them, you need to:

  • Apply hand cream suited to your skin type. If you have a habit of washing hands frequently, apply it after every hand wash.
  • If your skin feels irritated or gets reddened, consult a doctor.
  • If possible, use gloves when washing utensils.

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