In all the lands, wash your hands. The best maxim to live by is to put safety first. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, washing your hands the right way multiple times a day has become sort of a lifestyle. Also, it is important to have a handwashing ritual as we officially enter the cold and flu season.
Research on hand care has shown that the mortality rates due to respiratory and gastric diseases can be reduced just by soaping your hands at regular intervals. It is surprising to learn that there are still people who do not wash their hands on a daily basis, even before eating or prepping meals. This transpires the need for Global Handwashing Day – encouraging good hygiene practices for better health.
1. When in Doubt, Wash It Out
Squeaky clean hands are just seven steps away. Learn the seven hand-washing steps endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) with us:
*In clean running water, wet your hands.
*Apply generous soap to lather and cover all the surfaces of your hands and wrists.
*Lather and rub hands together. Follow up by scrubbing your hands to cover all the surfaces of your fingertips, fingernails, and wrists.
*Ensure you spend at least 20 seconds scrubbing your hands and wrist.
*Rinse your hands and wrists in clean running water.
*Use fresh and clean towels to dry your hands. Air-drying your hands is also recommended.
*Use a towel or your elbows to turn your faucet off.
If you are confused about which soap will work best for you, do not stress over it. Plain soap works just as well when disinfecting your hands as over-the-counter antibacterial soap. There is no need to invest in fancy soaps.
2. Farewell to Filth, Hello to Health
Alright, we know you get that the idea is to keep our hands clean, but do you know when it is absolutely crucial? Let us map that out:
* Before, during, and after cooking your meals.
* Before and after consuming your meals.
* Before and after visiting your family or friends at the hospital.
* Before you take any medications – tablets, syrups, or eye drops.
* Before you treat a wound or burn.
* After using public transport. Carry your hand wipes for standby, followed by rinsing your hands later.
* After you cough, sneeze, or blow your nose.
* After you have any sort of contact with other people’s hands.
* After you have used the washroom.
Whenever you feel the need, wash your hands with soap and water without hesitation. Do not pass the bug; give your hands a rub. Better safe than sorry.
3. How Often Is Too Often?
Habits are to be maintained as habits at a minimum. Never take your hygiene habits so seriously that you become obsessive about them. The key here is balance. Washing hands too often may cause dryness and irritation of your skin, breakouts with allergies, or infections. Avoid hot water and add a soap that has a moisturizing agent. Choose a liquid soap over bar soap with ingredients such as glycerin. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that have skin conditioners. This way, you kill two birds with one stone. You keep your hands clean, but you also nourish them. Do not spend on diseases; simply invest in your hygiene.
4. Little Hands at the Sink
Adulting is all about making tough choices and constant grinding and hustling. Which means you sometimes slip up on hygiene. The bad part is that your little ones take their cues from you, which means what you do is what they see and emulate. Sow the seeds of the hand-washing ritual while they are still young enough to want to copy everything you do. Catch them young, so it becomes a lifetime habit. Never let their need to chase the joys of life get in the way of the needs of life (like handwashing). Teach them what they need to know and hold them to the 20-second rule. Handwashing and caring go together, and both responsibilities are entirely on you.
The more you care about your hygiene, the more your hands (and your immune system by default) will thank you. And so, let us end on a virtual show of hands. All those who agree with our hand hygiene directives, raise your hands – and then go wash them!