Importance of Handwashing and Hand Hygiene

If we told you that people touch their faces at least 23 times per hour, would you ignore the importance of handwashing? Especially if you use the bathroom in your office and don’t wash your hands afterwards, you’ll take all the germs collected after the toilet, touching the knob and spread them across your face, keyboard, your mug and anything else you’ll touch. This is just one of many reasons we need to maintain optimal hand hygiene. Even though not all bacteria are bad, we still need to pay attention to the importance of handwashing.

To remove bad bacteria

When we touch objects, we collect both good and bad bacteria. This further leads to the spread of all bacteria because we’ll continue to touch other objects. While the presence of good bacteria is necessary for our optimal health, the existence of bad bacteria can cause health issues. That’s where handwashing comes in. When we wash our hands regularly, especially after critical uses of facilities, objects and substances, we reduce the risk of infection. It is believed that poor handwashing or lack thereof leads to at least 80% of infections.

To stop the spread of viruses

When we sneeze, we put our palms over our mouths and nose. With every sneeze, we spread saliva, bacteria and viruses into the air. If you don’t wash your hands afterwards or disinfect them, the virus will spread. We’ve all been under a lockdown because of one such virus. Maintaining proper hand hygiene is definitely easier than staying locked down.

Contact transmits viruses

When a person’s hands are covered in viruses and bacteria, they will contaminate everything they touch. So, if a person with flu sneezes or coughs in their hand, it would be wise to wash their hands and prevent the virus from spreading. However, we all know that this might not be the case. That’s why it’s up to us to monitor our behaviour and wash our hands regularly.

The right technique matter as well

There are probably different versions of handwashing out there. Some might think that just splashing the water after using the toilet is enough. Others might think that it’s enough to just rub your palms over another for ten seconds. If you want to wash your hands properly, first, you need to soak them in water and lather them with soap.

Then, you need to ensure every part, surface and crevice of your hands is rubbed thoroughly, for at least 20 seconds. You need to rinse and dry your hands, whether by using an electric hand dryer or paper towels, or whatever is at your disposal. Anything other than this routine is considered improper hand washing.

It’s important to know when to wash your hands

If we have to pinpoint the exact number of times a person should wash their hands in one day, the answer would be often. We can outline the average number of meals, the toilet uses and other critical behaviour for your hygiene when hand washing is recommended. But, it’s better if we tell you when it is critical to wash your hands.

Every time you use a toilet, both a public and a private one, after using transportation, both public transport and your own car, you should wash your hands. Before and after meals, before and after food handling, whether packaged or raw, you need to wash your hands. Hand washing is also recommended after you finish with cleaning activities and chores, after handling hygiene products like diapers or tampons. If you’ve been touching your garbage, you need to wash your hands. Whenever you arrive at a new location, you should first head straight to the bathroom. Lastly, whenever you sneeze and cough, you should tend to your hands and scrub them thoroughly with water and soap.

It has an impact on antibiotic resistance

Hand washing has a direct consequence on antibiotic resistance. People are slowly becoming more resistant to common antibiotics as germs and bacteria are resistant to these common medications. But, if you want to reduce the chances of becoming antibiotic resistant, wash your hands more often. The goal is to reduce your chances of becoming infected in the first place and handwashing is your tool against that. By being less sick and contaminated by easily spread viruses, you’ll use fewer antibiotics, thus reducing your chances of being resistant to antibiotics.

It will increase your hygiene levels

When your hands are clean, you will be clean. You won’t spread germs across your clothes, and face and you won’t have that feeling of ick on your hands. You’ll feel better after you wash your hands and you’ll be at ease knowing that you are free to touch other objects in your vicinity.

Hand hygiene leads to better overall health and we should all remember this. Even if we forget to wash our hands once, we can still fix that mistake by washing our hands when we get the chance.