Washing your hands is one of the most important things you can do to be clean and hygienic and stay healthy. Many illnesses such as the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be avoided with proper handwashing.
Why do I need to wash my hands?
You use your hands for many tasks such as writing, typing, opening doors, and eating. Every time you touch something, any germ such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) that was on the surface can get on your hands. If there are germs on your hands and then you touch your face, those germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) can get into your eyes, mouth, or nose. This can cause an infection such as Coronavirus (COVID-19). These infections can cause respiratory and/or gastrointestinal problems.
Germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted in a number of ways. For example, if someone has germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) on their hands and is preparing food, those germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted to anyone who touches or eats the food. Germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) can be transmitted when someone touches a doorknob, handrail, or elevator button and another person touches the same object. Your hands can get dirty when you use the restroom.
Simply washing your hands regularly can significantly prevent the transmission of germs and diseases such as Coronavirus (COVID-19). According to the CDC hand washing reduces the number of people that get sick with diarrhea, reduces respiratory illnesses, and reduces children absenteeism due to gastrointestinal diseases.
Another way that handwashing is useful is that it prevents resistance of germs to antibiotics. When someone gets sick, often times antibiotics are used to treat the illness. Over time, sometimes the bacteria get resistant to the antibiotic. This means that the antibiotic doesn’t work anymore to treat the illness. Therefore, a different or new antibiotic (which may not be as safe or may have more side effects) will be required. But simply washing your hands can reduce the amount of antibiotic resistance significantly.
You should wash your hands before cooking and eating, after using the restroom, after cleaning hour house, after touching animals such as pets, before and after contacting sick family members or friends, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose, and after outdoor activities.
How should I wash my hands?
Washing your hands is a simple way to clean them and prevent infections such as Coronavirus (COVID-19). First wet your hands and then apply soap to the wet skin. Using warm water will help remove dirt and debris better but will not necessarily remove germs better. Lather your hands with the soap well for at least 20 seconds. Some people like to sing a song in their head to help. For example, singing “Happy Birthday” twice takes about 20 seconds. When rubbing your hands together, make sure there is a good lather. Be sure to rub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and your fingertips. Sometimes dirt or germs can get under your fingernails so be sure to pay attention to those areas as well. After 20 seconds, rinse your hands with running water. Don’t place your hands in a water basin that has already been used since the germs can still be in there and your hands can become re-contaminated by germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19). After you’re done rinsing, dry your hands completely with a clean towel or an air dryer. Germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) are less likely to be transmitted on dry hands.
Can I use hand sanitizer instead?
Using a hand sanitizer is different from washing your hands. When you wash your hands, you are removing any dirt or debris that accumulates on your hands during the day. But this doesn’t happen with hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer does just that, sanitize your hands. It will kill any germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) that may be on your hands. When using a hand sanitizer, it should contain at least 60% alcohol and most of them contain 70%. Hospitals and medical offices routinely have hand sanitizer available since there is a lot of contact between people and sanitizing prevents the spread of germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19).
In summary, the simple task of washing your hands can keep your hands clean, prevent the spread of germs such as Coronavirus (COVID-19), and decrease the likelihood of anyone getting sick. They say that you learn the most important things in life in kindergarten and washing your hands is one of these things. During this Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency it is important to understand how simply washing can keep people safe.