When you’re hungry, all you want to do is sit down to dinner, right? Well, there’s one task you should always make time for before eating, even if your food is already sitting and waiting on the table. That’s hand washing. It’s vital for us all to understand the importance of hand washing, as it’s one of the best ways to reduce the amount of bacteria and germs on our hands, which could make us sick.
Read on to discover why it is important to wash your hands, as well as top tips for how to wash hands properly with a guide to the proper hand washing procedure.
Why is it important to wash your hands?
There are a few simple reasons which explain the importance of proper hand washing. These include:
- Diarrhoea caused by poor hygiene is the 4th leading cause of death among Filipino children. With simple changes to our everyday lifestyle and ensuring that we and our children understand how to wash hands properly means we can reduce this risk.
- Often, germs are spread through inhalation of fine droplets produced when we sneeze or cough which is often done into our hands. Washing your hands thoroughly afterwards or using a tissue instead will help reduce the risk of spreading these germs.
- Washing hands can also help reduce the risk of falling ill through food poisoning, which can be contracted if food prepared has not been properly handled.
- Our hands are the part of the body that most come into contact with surfaces that could be covered in bacteria, such as kitchen sides, bathroom sinks and door handles. Often, we then touch our eyes, noses and mouths which is how bacteria and viruses gain access to our bodies to make us ill.
When do we need to follow proper hand washing steps?
Now you understand the importance of hand washing, the next step is to understand when you should be using the proper hand washing procedure. We have sharedthe top times you need to wash your hands below:
- When you come home from being outside. Whether you have been travelling on public transport, just got in from work, or simply went for a walk in the park it is important to make sure your hands are clean when you return home. Viruses such as influenza can survive for up to 24 hours on hard surfaces such as keyboards you use at work or handrails on public transport. If these transfer to your hands it could cause you to become ill, so always ensure you wash your hands thoroughly.
- Before preparing food in the kitchen. When it comes to preparing food, no matter what you have been doing, it is important to make sure you wash your hands. Even if they look clean, bacteria aren’t visible to the naked eye and could still be there and transfer to the food you are preparing.
- After preparing raw food, in particular raw meat. In order to prevent food poisoning and bacteria causing illnesses like salmonella, you must always wash your hands after handling raw meat. This applies even before going on to prepare other parts of meals and dishes, such as vegetables, rice or pasta.
- When you have been to the toilet or have helped a dependant (such as children) do so. No matter how often you clean your toilet and bathroom, it is one of the most likely places to harbour those unseen bacteria which could cause you to fall ill. Always ensure you wash your hands after using the toilet yourself or after helping someone else to use the toilet, and teach any dependants to do the same.
- If you come into contact with a colleague, friend or family member who is unwell. No matter how clean you think your hands are, if you have touched someone who is unwell or any surfaces that they may have touched while feeling unwell, it is important to wash your hands. Keeping your hands clean will help you to avoid bacteria that made them ill.