You may not know it, but they are right there on your hands. While most germs are harmless, others are potential threats that can cause serious infection like influenza. Hand-washing is an effective way of protecting yourself and your loved ones against these germs. This article will give you tips on how to keep your hands clean.
A touch could be all it takes to spread an illness like influenza.
These germs can enter your body when your contaminated hands come into contact with your nose, mouth, eyes or open wounds. This makes washing your hands an important way of ensuring that you and your loved ones remain healthy.
How to wash your hands
Proper handwashing requires soap and water. By rubbing, soap breaks down the grease and dirt that carry most germs. Washing your hands for at least 15 to 30 seconds with soap and water does not just make your hands smell fresh but also reduces germ counts by up to 99%.
Follow these 8 simple steps to keep your hands clean:
- Palm to palm
- Between fingers
- Back of hands
- Base of thumbs
- Back of fingers
- Rinse and wipe dry
When to wash your hands
There are important moments that you don t want to miss. Similarly, there are moments that you need to wash your hands when you do the following:
Before and after
- Handling or preparing food
- Attending to a child or sick person
- Wearing contact lenses
- Using the toilet
- Wiping or blowing nose
- Coughing and sneezing
- Changing diapers
- Touching common surfaces (lift buttons, handles, table tops, etc)
What type of soap should be used?
Any type of soap may be used. However, bar soap should be kept in a self draining holder that is cleaned thoroughly before new bars are put in. Liquid soap containers should be used until empty and cleaned before refilling.
When travelling overseas or going to places where clean water and soap are not available, it is important to use hand disinfectants as an additional measure of hygiene after washing your hands with soap. The most common form of disinfectants are alcohol-based ones.
How to use alcohol-based disinfectants
Ideally, wash your hands to make sure all dirt is removed as alcohol-based disinfectants work best on clean skin.
Dry your hands as water dilutes the alcohol of the disinfectant and lessens its effectiveness.
- Apply disinfectant about the size of a coin on your hands. Rub them together, ensuring that both hands are covered with disinfectant, including the area under your nails.
- Keep applying the rubbing motion for about 15 seconds, or until your hands feel dry.
Your hands may be clean after washing with soap and water, but there are also precautions when you dry them:
- Avoid using sponges or non-disposable cleaning cloths to wipe your hands unless you clean them on a daily basis and dry them regularly. Remember that germs thrive on moist surfaces.
- Do not use a common hand towel. Always use disposable towels in public or office washrooms.
- Do not use a single damp cloth to wash a group of children s hands.