Every day on our way to work or at work, in schools, people touch doors, door knobs, elevators, buttons etc that are touched by thousands of people. This is the best way for germs to get transferred to many peoeple in one shot and if a sick person has touched before you, you can easily get these on your hands. Proper washing of hands is helpful in minimizing the possibility of getting germs into you. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hands should be properly washed, otherwise they can get infected with germs and bacteria. By touching our eyes, nose and mouth there is a risk of catching cold and other infections. People who are sick have to clean their hands otherwise they spread germs to other persons and objects which are used by others. Handwashing helps to get rid of germs that are present in unhygienic water, food, animals or animal waste. During handwashing, it is advisable to use warm water as it effectively cleans the dirt, grease and oils while retaining the natural oils on the skin. However, prolonged washing of hands in hot or cold water can cause dermatitis. It is better to use liquid soaps rather than bar soaps. Liquid soaps are convenient to use, get less contaminated, and can be dispensed in small portions leading to less wastage.
Hands should be washed in all the following situations:
After using of washrooms
Prior to eating food or serving the food
After blowing our noses during a cough or cold
While using handkerchief or tissues
After touching pet animals
After outdoor activities such as gardening
After visiting a sick person
When the hands are dirty
After changing a diaper or nappies
Before preparing food
While handling raw or cooked food
Before feeding oneself or others
Before administering first aid and or medications
After any contact with a person’s bodily fluids like blood, vomit, sputum or mucus
Before inserting and removing the lenses.
To wash hands properly certain guidelines may be useful. Firstly wash your hands with warm water rather than cold or hot water. Remember to use anti-bacterial soap or an alcohol hand sanitizer. Lather on both sides and back of the hands, wrists, between fingers and under your nails for 15-20 seconds. Wash the lather with warm water and pat dry with a neat towel. In public washrooms use tissues for flushing and handling doors. Germs are actively present in these areas. In case of unavailability of water or soap, use waterless hand soaps and scrubs. You can buy them in the form of small liquid pouches, wipes or towelettes that can be fitted in a locker, purse or sports bag comfortably. Use liquid soaps that are disposable. While refilling wash and dry the bottles to prevent infections.
Proper handwashing can be a protection against serious illnesses such as Meningitis, Flu, Bronchiolitis, Hepatitis A, Gastrointestinal Infections and Diarrhea. Contaminated hands are the reason for the spread of infectious diseases. Often germs get carried away through hands. Infectious diseases spread easily from person to person especially to children, aged people and those with low resistance power. After handwashing it is important to dry them to wipe off any residue.
A water-based absorbent hand cream has to be applied 3-4 times a day. While washing utensils, gardening and other outdoor activities wear gloves. If there is an increase in skin irritation, sometimes it could be the soap youa re using so try a mild soap and if it skin irritation persists, it is best to consult a doctor.