Handwashing and hygiene: Why do we wash our hands

The world is flooded with antibiotics and chemical disinfectants however they were never the solutions for ultimate success in saving our patients and self from getting infected.

A number of infectious diseases can be spread from one person to another by contaminated hands, particularly gastrointestinal infections, influenza and hepatitis A. Washing your hands properly can help prevent the spread of the organisms, as MRSA, VRE, ESBL and many others that cause these diseases.

The developing countries bears the brunt of the lack of hygiene as there is lack of accountability as our patients are not aware of the rights, and many physicians just prescribe Antibiotics to cover-up all lacuna. I wish the simple washing can be a be a best prayer to save many lives who are at the mercy of the system.

Just follow to do it, never forget to wash your hands.

Proper handwashing procedure

  1. Wet your hands with warm water.
  2. Apply one dose of liquid soap and lather (wash) well for 15–20 seconds (or longer if the dirt is ingrained).
  3. Rub hands together rapidly across all surfaces of your hands and wrists to help remove dirt and germs.
  4. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, your wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.

    Proper handwashing techniques Source: WHO
    Proper handwashing techniques Source: WHO
  5. If possible, remove rings and watches before you wash your hands, or ensure you move the rings to wash under them, as microorganisms can exist under them.
  6. Rinse well under running water and make sure all traces of soap are removed, as residues may cause irritation.
  7. Pat your hands dry using paper towels (or single-use cloth towels). Make sure your hands are thoroughly dry.
  8. Dry under any rings you wear, as they can be a source of future contamination if they remain moist.
  9. Hot air driers can be used but, again, you should ensure your hands are thoroughly dry.
  10. At home, give each family member their own towel and wash the towels often.

Proper hand washing can protect you and others from a range of diseases.

Liquid soap is better than bar soap, especially at work.
Wash and dry your hands carefully. Generally, it is better to use liquid soap than bar soap, particularly at work.

The benefits of liquid soap include:

  1. Hygiene – it is less likely to be contaminated.
  2. Right amount – liquid soap dispensers do not dispense more than required (more is not better).
  3. Less waste – it’s easier to use, with less wastage. Drop-in cassette dispensers use all the soap.
  4. Saves time – liquid soap dispensers are easy and efficient to use

About the Author: Dr.T.V.Rao MD Professor of Microbiology is a Freelance writer of microbeonline.com

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