Hand hygiene plays a pivotal role in maintaining health and well-being because we accumulate innumerable germs and dirt as we touch objects, surfaces, and other people throughout the day.
These germs then use us as a portal to transfer themselves from one person to another or infect us if they access entry into our body through the mouth, nose, and eyes.
The habit of washing your hands regularly helps in limiting the transmission of microbes such as bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens if done correctly. Even though we realize the importance of hand-washing compliance, most of us are unfamiliar with proper hand-washing techniques and steps.
According to CDC guidelines washing hands with plain water is not enough so you should use soap and water to effectively get rid of all kinds of deadly infections lurking around you.
You can also opt for a hand sanitizer that has approximately 60% of alcohol in its composition, which makes it a quick alternative to cleaning your hands with water and soap but it does not eradicate all kinds of germs and its efficiency can be reduced if your hands are oily or have visible dirt. Furthermore, a hand sanitizer is ineffective in eliminating harmful chemicals from hands so this proves that it should only be used when there is absolute unavailability of water and soap.
Keeping hands clean is simple but it requires a watchful effort to carry out this task and all the steps of hand-washing should be performed carefully to avoid any residual germs or harmful chemicals.
What are the steps of hand washing?
The WHO and CDC have published proper guidelines that contain the following essential steps the time duration of hand washing should be 20-60 seconds at least and if your hands are visibly dirty then a hand rub should be used in addition to soap.
- Open the faucet and wet your hands under running water.
- Take a small amount of soap and apply it to your palms. Liquid soap is a better option as a soap bar could have been used by many individuals.
- Rub your hands against each other in such a way that palm of one hand should be facing the palm of the other hand.
- Then put the palm of your right hand upon the back side of your left hand and rub with fingers interlaced and vice versa;
- In the next step, you need to interlace the fingers of both hands with palms facing each other and rub gently.
- After that interlock the fingers of opposing palms and scrub back of the fingers.
- At the end clean thumbs respectively by rotational rubbing and get rid of excess soap with the help of simple maneuvers of backward and forward rubbing in a circular manner with clasped fingers of the right hand in the left palm and vice versa;
Rinse water and dry your hands entirely with clean and dry towel that can be disposed after a single use.
Do not touch the faucet or hand washing station after you are done washing your hands and use a disposable towel to turn off the tap.
Hand washing is a sanitary habit that is integral in controlling the spread and propagation of germs.
It should be practiced daily and correctly as per WHO and CDC guidelines to impede infections in native populations and communities, occupational-based communities, and hospital-based communities.
In a period where covid-19 and its emerging strains, influenza, respiratory diseases, bacterial, fungal, and, viral infections along with rising antimicrobial resistance and multidrug-resistant superbugs are coming up every day, it is crucial to observe and maintain high-level measures of hygiene to combat the transmission of diseases so that we can effectively prevent spread and infections.