Washing your hands is one of the best ways to avoid sickness and prevent the transmission of germs, including the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus. Washing hands thoroughly with soap and clean water is often an important defense against diseases that spread easily from person-to-person, and keep you, your loved ones, and therefore the community health as a result. How to Wash Your Hands general.
However, hand washing is only effective when done correctly and consistently.
When Should You Wash Your Hands?
Hands should be washed often. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following are key times when handwashing is especially important to help prevent the spread of germs and viruses:
1. Before, during, and after food preparation
2. Before eating food
3. Before and after coming into contact with a sick person who has vomiting or has diarrhea
4. Before and after treating a cut or wound
5. After using the bathroom
6. After changing a diaper
7. After cleaning a child who has used the bathroom
8. After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
9. After coming in contact with an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
10. After touching pet food or pet treats
11. After handling garbage
If you do not have immediate access to soap and water in these circumstances, you ought to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
How to Properly Wash Your Hands
Turn on the Water: Clean, running water is more important than temperature. Turn on the water and obtain your hands wet. You can turn the water off or leave it running, counting on your preference.
Turning it off saves water, but it will increase the number of times you touch the faucet, which will expose you to germs that are on the faucet handles.
Lather Up: Soap is important. It helps lift the germs and microbes off your skin while you wash your hands and make the entire process simpler.
Studies have shown that it’s no better to use antibacterial soap than regular soap, and therefore the overuse of triclosan, a commonly used ingredient in antibacterial soap, could actually contribute to antibiotic resistance.
Scrub for at least 20 Seconds: Most people don’t scrub their hands nearly long enough. Twenty seconds doesn’t sound like a long time but it is much longer than you would imagine. How does one confirm you’re washing the right amount of time? Sing the Happy Birthday song to yourself (or out loud) twice.
Make sure you’re completely covering your hands with soap and water. Scrub between your fingers, under your nails, everywhere your thumbs and up your wrists.
There are germs all over your hands, not just on your palms and fingertips. Rinse the Soap (and Germs) Away: Rinsing is ultimately how you get the germs off of your hands, so it’s really the most important step.
Again, it’s important to use clean running water. Dipping your hands during a stagnant pool of water (or even standing water within the sink) isn’t equivalent to rinsing the soap off with clean, running water.
If all you have is a pool of water for instance, you are outside and have no access to running water it is better than nothing and certainly preferable to not washing your hands at all.
Many people do not realize that washing your hands doesn’t typically kill germs, it’s simply the foremost effective thanks to getting them off of your hands so you do not spread them to yourself or others. Rinsing allows you to scrub the germs and microbes away, drastically lowering the probabilities that you simply will spread disease.
Dry Your Hands: Using a paper or cloth hand towel, dry your hands completely. If you’re using cloth hand towels, they ought to be washed frequently especially if they’re during a shared household where they might become contaminated easily.
Turn Off the Water: If you want to save water, go ahead and turn the water off after you get your hands wet and then on and off again when you need to rinse them.
According to the CDC, “While some recommendations include employing a towel to show off the tap after hands are rinsed. This practice results in increased use of water and paper towels, and there are not any studies to point out that it improves health.
Use your best judgment here. You also might want to think about using your towel to open the toilet door as you’re leaving if you’re employing a public restroom.
When to Use Hand Sanitizer
To get obviate germs, thoroughly washing your hands is best. However, if soap and clean water aren’t immediately available, employing a hand sanitizer is a suitable backup until you’ll wash your hands.
In order to be appropriately effective, the hand sanitizer must be alcohol-based and contain at least 60% alcohol.
Note that hand sanitizer isn’t a substitute for soap and water for removing germs.
It is also not as effective when your hands are visibly soiled or have been exposed to chemicals.
When using hand sanitizer, remember to use a lot enough to completely cover both hands. Then, rub your hands together while still wet, interlacing the fingers frequently, until they’re completely dry.
Does it matter what sort of soap you use?
Plain soap is simply nearly as good at disinfecting your hands as over-the-counter antibacterial soaps.
In fact, research has found that antibacterial soaps aren’t any longer effective at killing germs than regular, everyday soaps.
In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source banned the use of the antibacterial agent’s triclosan and triclocarban. The reasons cited by the FDA for the ban of these agents included:
Endocrine (hormone) disruption
So, if you happen to have older bottles of antibacterial soap stocked away, it’s best not to use them. Throw them out, and just use regular soap instead.
Also, there’s no evidence to suggest that the water temperature makes a difference.
According to one study trusted Source, washing your hands in warm water doesn’t seem to get rid of more germs.
The bottom line is that it’s safe to use whatever water temperature is right for you, and use any regular liquid or bar soap you have on hand.
How to prevent dry or damaged skin
Dry, irritated, raw skin from frequent hand washing can raise the risk of infections. Damage to your skin can change the skin flora. This, in turn, can make it easier for germs to live on your hands.
To keep your skin healthy while maintaining good hand hygiene, skin experts suggest the subsequent tips:
Avoid hot water, and use a moisturizing soap. Wash with cool or lukewarm water. Hot water isn’t simpler than warm water, and it tends to be more drying.
Opt for liquid (instead of bar) soaps that have a creamy consistency and include humectant ingredients, like glycerin.
Use skin moisturizers. Look for skin creams, ointments, and balms that help keep water from leaving your skin. These include moisturizers with ingredients that are:
Occlusive, such as lanolin acid, caprylic/capric triglycerides, mineral oil, or squalene
Humectants, such as lactate, glycerin, or honey
Emollients, such as aloe vera, dimethicone, or isopropyl myristate
Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers that contain skin conditioners. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with humectants help ease skin dryness, while emollients replace a number of the water stripped by alcohol.