A Definitive Guide to Proper Hand Washing

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of infections and diseases. But it is important to remember that you shouldn’t just wash your hands just for the sake of it. You should wash your hands the correct way so that you can effectively eliminate germs and bacteria that can spread around as quickly as you bat your eyelashes. Here are some bits and pieces of information that you need to know about this healthy habit of hand washing.

When to wash your hands
When you touch people or things during the day, germs accumulate on your hands. You can infect yourself by touching your mouth, nose and eyes. So it is a must to wash your hands before and after preparing food, eating, giving medicine, treating wounds, touching a sick or injured person, putting on or removing contact lenses, using the toilet, changing a diaper, touching an animal, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, handling garbage and anytime that your hands appear dirty.

How to wash your hands
Wash your hands following these simple steps. First, wet your hands with running water. Then apply soap that can be in the form of liquid, bar or powder. Rub your hands well to form a soapy lather. Do this for at least 20 seconds while scrubbing the surfaces and the spaces in between the fingers and under the fingernails. Rinse your hands well with running water. Dry them after with a clean towel or air dryer. Turn off the faucet using the towel.

If soap and water are not available, make use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. This is a liquid cleaner that doesn’t require water. Look for a commercial hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol so that you can be sure that the germs will be eradicated completely. To use this, apply a sufficient amount of hand sanitizer on the palm of your hands. Rub your hands together. Be sure to cover all surfaces including the spaces between your fingers and under your fingernails. Do this for up to 25 seconds or until the liquid has dried off.

Teaching Kids
Teaching children to wash their hands properly is also very important. As you probably know, kids love to touch everything. They play on the soil, on the floor and wherever their curious minds want them to explore. Then just before you know it, their hands are making their way towards their mouths. Before they do so, teach them the habit of washing their hands properly and frequently with soap and water. Show them how it is done. Also, to ensure that they won’t rush while washing their hands, have them sing the Happy Birthday song. By the time they finish singing this song, tell them that it means that they have already washed their hands sufficiently. It would be a great idea to put up a poster reminding them of correct hand washing techniques that they can see at their eye level.

Hand washing is one of the simplest ways to stay healthy. Make it a habit to wash your hands with soap and water or with a hand sanitizer to keep germs and bacteria from inflicting harm to your health.

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