When it comes to personal hygiene, especially in the case of hand hygiene, you will be aware that it is a great way to help stop the spread of germs which can be harmful to you and those who come into contact with you. Knowing the best way to wash hands and learning that all important hand washing procedure is a lifestyle choice that will help to protect you and your family.
Why is knowing how to wash your hands so important?
There are a number of reasons why it is important to know why and how to wash your hands but they all boil down to one thing; washing your hands will help to stop you falling ill. Three ways that not washing your hands properly can cause you to become sick are:
- Your hands carry germs easily. Whether it’s touching things that have bacteria on or covering your mouth with your hand when your sneeze or cough there are bound to be germs on your hand which can be transferred to others and make them ill.
- Cross contamination can be dangerous. When it comes to handling food such as raw chicken there is the danger of transferring food poisoning causing bacteria to surfaces and people if your hands are not washed in between.
- Bacteria breeds quickly. This means that if you do not clean your hands properly or you forget to wash them, the bacteria will very quickly increase in number, which can in turn mean there is more to spread about when you touch other people or surfaces.
Which hand washing technique is the best for your hand hygiene?
The best way to ensure your hands are properly clean is to follow the following hand washing steps¹ whenever you wash your hands:
- Wet your hands.
- Apply enough soap to ensure it will cover the entire surface of your hands.
- Rub your palms together.
- Place your right palm over the back of your left hand with fingers interlaced and rub them together. Repeat with left palm over the back of your right hand.
- Rub your palms together again; this time with fingers interlaced.
- With your fingers interlocked, use your palm to clean the back of your fingers.
- Clasp your right palm around your left thumb and rotate. Repeat with your left palm around your right thumb.
- Clasp the fingers of your right hand and rub rotationally in your left palm. Repeat with the fingers of your left hand in your right palm.
- Rinse with water and dry thoroughly with a one-use towel.
- Use the towel to turn off the tap, rather than your clean hands.
When should you wash your hands?
Knowing why you should and how you should wash your hands are obviously important points, but so too is knowing when. Some of the most important times to wash your hands are:
- Before you prepare food, after handling raw food and before you eat.
- When you have been to the toilet.
- When you have been cleaning your home.
- After touching animals, even if they are your own family pets.
- Before (and after) visiting any friends or family who are unwell.
- After you have blown your nose, coughed into your hands or sneezed.
- When you return indoors after being outside, no matter how short the time spent outside was.
Whether you are unsure why it is so important to wash your hands, or you simply didn’t know how to do so efficiently; this article should help you understand some key ways to keep you hand hygiene at the top of its game, and protect you and your family from harmful bacteria making you ill.