When my grandma was hospitalized a few months ago, I found myself shuttling back and forth from the hospital almost every day. While at the hospital, and to avoid having so many people in one ward, I’d sometimes linger in the corridors reading the various signs around the hospital. One that caught my eye and which I’ve put into practice ever since was a diagram showing the proper way to wash your hands.
The proper way to wash hands
The proper way to wash your hands takes a little time but the effort is worthwhile.
- Run clean tap water over your palms and use hand soap.
- Lather well.
- Rub your hands vigorously for at least 15 seconds.
- Scrub your hands, fingers, palms and nails.
- Do not forget the back of your hands.
- Rinse with clean water until all soap is washed off.
- Dry hands with a clean dry towel or disposable towel.
Wash hands to prevent infections
Hands pick up a lot of dirt and bacteria. Just think of the many things you touch throughout the day. Then, your eye itches or you scratch your face or nose and those germs are transferred to you. This is the easiest way for influenza and the common cold to spread because the virus can remain inert on surfaces for a long time waiting to be picked up by the unwary.
Proper handwashing will ensure that your hands are clean, thereby reducing the possibility of your infecting yourself with any germs. You can also use the waterless hand sanitizers that contain alcohol. I use those when I travel because it may not always be convenient to find a tap and soap and they can get rid of minimal dirt and oil. Useful if you like to eat street food when you travel like I do 😉
When you should wash your hands
Do not develop an obsessive compulsive disorder or pathological fear of germs. The idea is to ensure that you wash your hands at the very least after using the toilet and before eating. You might be surprised at the number of people who do not do this! I have personally seen it myself at public toilets and I am appalled. Here is a list of situations when you should wash your hands as compiled from the Mayo Clinic.
Always wash your hands:
- After using the toilet
- After changing a diaper — wash the diaper-wearer’s hands, too
- After touching animals or animal waste
- Before and after preparing food, especially before and immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish
- Before eating
- After blowing your nose
- After coughing or sneezing into your hands
- Before and after treating wounds or cuts
- Before and after touching a sick or injured person
- After handling garbage
- Before inserting or removing contact lenses
- When using public restrooms, such as those in airports, train stations, bus stations and restaurants
With the current spread of the Influenza A (H1N1) and previously the “bird flu” or SARS it pays to wash your hands regularly especially if you have been out and about and do not know who you come into contact with.
Now, hands up who has been practicing good clean hand hygiene and washing your hands the proper way? 🙂
Stay beautiful… and healthy!