October 15 ever year has been set aside as Global hand washing day in order to inspire everyone to always wash their hands with soap especially after certain activities. 80% of diseases are transmitted by touch. It will suffice it to say that hand washing is a key preventive measure against diseases especially respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases.
Handwashing involves five simple and effective steps ;
Below are 7 key points to heed to about hand washing;
#1. Always dry your hands after washing them
Wet hands spread more microorganisms than dry hands…so always endeavour to wipe your hands dry.
#2. Always wash your hands before and after key activities
Key activities like eating, using the rest room, visiting a sick patient at the hospital, handling fresh produce or meat etc. It is necessary to wash your hands before and after this activities as this has been found to reduce illnesses by 70%.
#3. Soap and water cleanse more effectively than hand sanitisers.
Hand sanitisers have a cleansing action by they can never replace the old fashioned way of using soap and water.
#4. Always wet your hands before applying soap.
Wet your hands with clean, running water, apply soap and lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Make sure to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds or recite ‘twinkle twinkle little star’. And then rinse off.
#5. Remove all hand jewellery before washing hands
This is to ensure you reach all parts of your hand while washing.
#6. Always scrub under your nails
Most times while washing our hands, we forget too scrub our nails. Microorganisms and germs easily hide under our nails so its important we pay attention to them.
#7. Wash hand towels regularly
Its actually more hygienic to use paper towels to dry off our hands after washing them. But if you must use hand towels to dr off, always hang to dry and wash them regularly.
Here’s an infograph from WHO to guide you on effective hand washing.