Reasons Why Handwashing Is Important

You may think a quick rinse under water is enough to clean your hands, but you’d be surprised! Keeping your hands clean is the most important method to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to other people in the household. Many diseases are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean water.

To properly wash your hand, wet them under clean, running water. Apply soap and lather your hands together—lather the backs of your hands, between fingers and under nails. Scrub your hands for at least 30-seconds. Rinse your hands under clean, running water and dry using a clean towel, paper towels or allow them to air dry. Here are 5 reasons why hand washing is so important…

1. How Germs Make People Sick

People, especially children frequently touch their eyes, mouth and nose without realizing it. Germs can travel from the hand and get into the body, which can make us sick.  Feces from people and pets spread germs like Salmonella, E. coli and norovirus, which causes diarrhea and it can cause respiratory infections.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), proper hand washing can reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31-percent. A single gram of human feces can contain one trillion germs. That’s about the weight of a paper clip.

2. Cross Contamination of Food Can Make You Sick

Germs have no scrupulous. They don’t care whether you’ve handled raw chicken and then sliced some fresh cucumber. To prevent cross contamination in the kitchen, it’s vital to wash your hands frequently.

When the juice of raw meat comes into contact with ready-to-eat foods or cooking utensils, cross contamination can occur. To prevent food poisoning, always keep raw meat separate and wash anything that comes into contact with the meat—including your hands. Germs can also multiply in some types of food if not stored properly, so ensure you follow kitchen guidelines.

3. When to Wash Your Hands

Hand washing should become second nature—and don’t do it only after you’ve used the bathroom or prepared a meal in the kitchen. You should wash your hands frequently because you never know when you’ve come into contact with germs. Wash your hands after using a tissue, taking the garbage out, before eating, during food preparations, after changing a diaper, after playing with pets. Basically, wash your hands a lot.

Liquid soap is the best choice. Bar soap, especially if used by numerous people can itself become contaminated. The bar of soap tends to sit in a pool of water and germs can linger on the bar. Dried out bar soap can develop cracks that allow harmful germs and dirt to hide inside. Generally, people don’t like to use a bar of soap, so use liquid soap in your home to encourage hand washing.

4. Germs Can Transfer to Other Objects

There’s a reason why germs spread like wildfire through day care centers and schools. Germs are easily transferred to objects like toys, smart phones, laptops and handrails. That means that anyone who hasn’t washed their hands properly can potentially contaminate anything they touch.

Properly washing children’s hands is vital to stop the spread of germs, but you’ll also need to disinfect toys and surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of infection. That means disinfecting anything that comes into contact with little hands like door knobs, benches, handrails, toys and chairs. It may seem like a daunting task, but it will help keep everyone germ free.

5. When to Use Hand Sanitizer

Washing with soap and water is the best method to combat germs, but sometimes you may find yourself in a sticky situation where you don’t have access to clean water and soap. That’s when hand sanitizers come in handy.

Studies have found that hand sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60- and 90-percent are more effective. Non-alcohol based hand sanitizers not work as well. They only reduce the growth of germs, rather than killing them. One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re hands are greasy, hand sanitizers with 60-percent alcohol may not be enough. To get rid of the grease and germs, good old fashion soap and water are the best choice.