Hand hygiene is critical to reducing infectious disease transmission (most importantly Covid-19), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Handwashing, in fact, has been shown in studies to reduce the rates of some respiratory and gastrointestinal infections by up to 23% and 48%, respectively.
How to Wash Your Hands Properly
Covid-19 has hit us hard. Can’t go out without knowing any sets of prevention skills. Below is the seven-step handwashing technique endorsed by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO):
- Clean preferably flowing water should be used to wet your hands. Use enough soap to cover the entire surface of your hands and wrists.
- Make a lather and thoroughly rub your hands together, palm to palm.
- Scrub all surfaces back to hand.
- Then the fingers thoroughly.
- Don’t forget the base of thumbs.
- Fingernails have to be thoroughly rub and gently picked out dirt inside the fingernails
- For at least 20 seconds, scrub your hands and wrists.
- Rinse your hands and wrists with clean, running water.
- Dry your hands and wrists with a clean towel, or let them air-dry. Use a towel to turn off the faucet.
What Type of Soap Should Be Use?
Plain soap works just as well as antibacterial soaps to keep your hands clean. In reality, studies have shown that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than normal, everyday soaps at killing germs.Thus, preventing Covid-19 from spreading less. The antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban were banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017.
The reasons cited by the FDA for the ban of these agents included:
- antibacterial resistance
- systemic absorption
- endocrine (hormone) disruption
- allergic reactions
- overall ineffectiveness
So, if you have older bottles of antibacterial soap lying around, it’s best not to use them. Throw them away and replace them with normal soap.
Furthermore, there is no proof that the temperature of the water makes a difference. According to one report, washing your hands in warm water does not seem to remove more germs.
When to wash your hands
Washing your hands is especially necessary when you are in conditions where you are more likely to pick up or spread germs. This contains the following:
- before, during, and after you prepare food
- before and after you:
- consume foods or drinks
- are exposed to someone with an infectious illness
- enter a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home, or other healthcare setting
- clean and treat a cut, burn, or wound
- take medication, such as pills or eye drops
- use public transportation, especially if you touch railings and other surfaces
- touch your phone or other mobile device
- go to the grocery store
- after you:
- cough, sneeze, or blow your nose
- touch visibly dirty surfaces, or when there’s visible dirt on your hands
- handle money or receipts
- have touched a gas pump handle, ATM, elevator buttons, or pedestrian crossing buttons
- shake hands with others
- engage in sexual or intimate activity
- have used the bathroom
- change diapers or clean bodily waste off others
- touch or handle garbage
- touch animals, animal feed, or waste
- touch fertilizer
- handle pet food or treats
If Soap and Water Not Available
When handwashing isn’t a choice or your hands aren’t visibly soiled, disinfecting them with alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be a viable option.
The majority of alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain ethanol, isopropanol, n-propanol, or a combination of these ingredients. Alcohol solutions with the following antimicrobial properties have the highest antimicrobial activity:
- 60 to 85 percent ethanol
- 60 to 80 percent isopropanol
- 60 to 80 percent n-propanol
Ethanol seems to be the most effective against viruses, whereas Propanols work best against bacteria.
How To Use Hand Sanitizer Properly
The efficacy of hand sanitizers, like handwashing, is dependent on using the proper technique. Follow these steps to properly apply hand sanitizer:
- Apply about 3 to 5 mL (2/3 to 1 teaspoon) in your palm.
- Rub vigorously, making sure to rub the product all over the surfaces of both your hands and between your fingers.
- Rub for about 25 to 30 seconds, until your hands are completely dry.