What is hand hygiene?
Hand hygiene means washing your hands with soap in order to remove germs and dirt particles. It prevents you from many diseases such as influenza, diarrhea, cholera etc. You interact with the world and your hands are exposed to many microorganisms. Therefore, wash your hands frequently for at least 20 secs.
Why is washing hands important?
It is important because you can touch your eyes, nose, mouth uncountable times in just a few minutes, so the germs on your hands make you ill. Washing hands in running water with soap can prevent illness. It affects the healthier person, as well as a person with low immune system can also be affected.
You can be the source of spreading germs if you are not taking proper hand hygiene.
According to a study made in 2013 showed improvement in the health of children under 5 years due to hand washing.
People living in rural areas are more affected because they don’t have clean water. Washing hands prevent from impetigo which spreads from physical contact.
When to wash your hands?
You should take personal hygiene everyday but washing hands is more important.
Always perform hand hygiene before:
- Preparing food
- When removing contacts
- When applying contacts
- When you go to treat a sick person
- Treat wounds
- Use of public transport
Always perform hand hygiene after;
- Use of toilets
- Changing diaper
- Taking medicines
- Using eye drops
- Afters sexual or intimate activity
- Touching pets
- Treating ill person
- Blowing nose
- Handling garbage
- Handling money or receipt
- Feeding pets
- Using contact lenses
Perform hand hygiene in just 20 seconds
How to wash your hands?
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with cold or warm water
- Apply hand soap
- Rub your hands for 20 seconds
- Rub back, front, wrist and the gaps between your fingers
- Rinse well with warm or cold water
- Dry your hands with soft dry cloth or towel
Hand washing methods
- With antiseptic: hand sanitizer or hand antiseptic don’t have any water for disinfection. It is a hygiene agent used for hands worldwide. You can use it when you don’t have any soap or water that can kill your hand germs. Take a small amount of antiseptic in your palm and rub it with another hand and disinfect your hands in just a few seconds.
- Solid soap: we can use it many times because only water can’t do anything. It needs some kind of soap or liquid. The bacteria is rinsed off with the foam but due to reusing nature liquid hand wash is more preferable for hands.
- Antibacterial soap: it has antibacterial agents like triclosan which are not found in common soaps. It has the same properties as common soap to rinse off the bacteria.
- Water: cold water is comfortable for washing hands but because it is not hot enough to kill the bacteria, warm water is more effective for hand hygiene. Bacteria grow faster in 37 °C . Scientific studies show that warm water has no effects to reduce the microorganisms in your hand.
- Ash or mud; people living in rural areas cannot afford soap or hand detergents, instead they use ash or mud for cleaning their hands. It may be effective but less effective as compared to any soap and hand detergent. Ash and mud are increased in microorganisms because it is low in quality. They don’t reduce and provide hygiene but increases the risk of high microorganisms. But ash is effective with water use as a disinfecting agent when soap is not available. It forms an alkaline solution.
How to use alcohol based hand sanitizer?
Hand sanitizer contains 60 to 95% alcohol which is effective against germs. It dries quickly because of alcohol.
It kills 99% microorganisms in 30 seconds after applying it. Take a small amount of sanitizer in your palm and gently rub it with the other hand including back, front, middle of the fingers and wrist.
Is hand hygiene effective for coronavirus?
Yes it is effective because washing hands is very important against corona virus because you are touching your hands on your nose, mouth, face many times. Your hands can become a source of spreading virus, so use hand sanitizer several times in a day.
Your children also need hand hygiene
Here are some tips for kids to take hand hygiene;
- If you are a parent or teacher perform hand hygiene in front of your kids so they will also try to follow those steps.
- Take hygiene with your children’s favorite poem or characters they like. It attracts your kid towards you so it will be easy to teach hand hygiene to your children.
- If your child does not reach the level of the sink bring some foot step or stool.
- Use attractive soaps or different colors of liquid soaps that attract your child.
- Supervise your children to use sanitizer as it contains alcohol and can be dangerous so take them back after using.
- Try to play games with your children while taking hand hygiene.
There are just easy and few steps for washing hands which are; wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Trying to adopt this habit as it can save you and others from germs and diseases like diarrhea. It takes only 20 seconds. Try to perform 5 times a day.
A student of Surgical Technology from Dow University of Health Sciences. She brings her expertise on surgical procedures, knowledge on Human Anatomy and Modern Day Surgeries to help students understand and learn easier ways and help patients understand hospital procedures before their surgeries.