The importance of hand hygiene is an age-old concept; however, people only realized its importance after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. A time when healthcare professionals advised every individual to wash and sanitize their hands frequently, allowing them to get rid of the virus, bacteria, infections, and other foreign germs.
Probably, it was the first time when we saw that everyone is serious about hand hygiene practices. Bulk hand sanitizers and soaps were a common purchase in almost every household during this trying time. Almost every health advisory commission requested individuals to clean the hand if they have been in a public area or have coughed, sneezed, or had blown their nose.
External practices and preventive measures focused on the use of sanitizers for their instant and easy use. While at home, the stress was on washing hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds.
But, why is it important? Does hand hygiene really matter? Let’s have a closer look at various aspects associated with hand hygiene in your daily life.
Why Hand Hygiene Matters?
Are you aware that multiple illnesses and diseases are spreading through contact with familiar objects, people, and pets? The most innovative and effective solution is to prevent this spread through proper hand hygiene. This is why the ‘World Health Organization’ says, “Hand hygiene is not a luxury.”
The common assumption of germs getting into our hands is while cleaning our home, toilet, working in the office, or cooking. However, relaxing with your friends, family, and pets can also attract germs. These potentially infecting viruses, bacteria, and dust can get into our system through physical contact, making precautions essential in such cases.
These are a few known possible routes through which germs are spread:
- Touching nose, mouth, and eyes and then getting in contact with others.
- Sneezing, coughing, blowing nose, and rubbing eyes.
- Touching raw foods like meat or fish.
- Touching foods with unclean hands.
- Touch and contact from pets.
Now that you understand the significance of washing your hands, let’s have a look at the ideal ways you can clean your hands and maintain proper hygiene.
Ideal Way to Clean Your Hands
Water alone is not sufficient to wash your hands and prevent infections. Cleaning your hands with a combination of water and soap has been affecting keeping away the infection.
- Start with wetting your hands, preferably under flowing water.
- Make sure you put enough soap to cover your hands and wrists adequately.
- Lather and scrub every part of your hands.
- Continue cleaning and washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands and wrists under running water.
The basic idea of your hand hygiene is to clean all areas like hands, wrists, and fingers. The same guidelines are applicable when you are rubbing sanitizer in your hands. It needs to cover all the parts to clean the hands thoroughly.
Hand Hygiene Practices and Tips
Most incidences when germs and infections spread are a result of human actions and inactions. Frequent hand washing and applying sanitizers are healthy hygiene practices that everyone needs to implement in their regular routine. However, you should be careful regarding your hand hygiene practices.
- Keep Your Hands Clean and Moisturized
Hand washing or applying sanitizers to the hand is a good habit, but too much of it can have serious consequences. Washing your hands constantly with soap-based formulations can make them red, dry, and rough.
It can make your hands cracked or bleed, exposing them to microbial loads. There are certain soap compositions that are harsh on the skin and make them dry. You can use glycerin or organic formula or use hand creams or lotions after wash.
Hand sanitizers are not indifferent, and overuse can lead to serious health ailments like skin disorders, weakening the immune system, infertility, hormonal imbalances, etc.
- Consider Soap Storage
Bar soaps are not suitable for hand washing as germs and infections can flourish on the surface. Instead, it’s better to use liquid soaps that are used through the dispensers.
- Don’t Overboard
While practicing hand hygiene effectively combats infections, some people, including children, overboard the process. This can be a sign of anxiety or a condition known as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Both of these are symptoms that your mental well-being is hampered.
Hand Hygiene in Everyday Life
Taking care of your hand is essential in times when everyone is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. Though hand hygiene is not exclusively applicable for this situation, it goes a long way to protect us from microbial activities in everyday life. Children should be trained and taught to clean their hands from their childhood, especially after toileting and before eating meals.
Hand washing facilities need to be implemented in public places, including schools, malls, restaurants, cinema halls, and other places. It’s also the responsibility of businesses and organizations to introduce hand wash in public toilets and food service areas. Bulk toilet paper should be present in public toilets to prevent the spreading and breeding of microbial activities.
Never Compromise on Your Hand Hygiene!
If you are making it a concern to wash and clean your hands regularly, it becomes second nature. Soaps and sanitizers are readily available in the markets, but it requires individuals to be mindful of their health and safety.
It doesn’t take much effort to fight infections and diseases by pledging to practice hand hygiene consistently and frequently. It will safeguard from viruses and bacteria, including the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.