Frequent hand washing is essential to avoid both contracting and spreading certain diseases. Generally, it is a habit that we all acquire from a young age. However, in the vast majority of cases, hand washing is not done properly, so it is interesting to know what the correct procedure is.
Such is the importance of washing your hands properly that there is even a day dedicated to it; October 15 is World Handwashing Day . A very simple gesture that is estimated to help prevent up to 200 common diseases, especially among the little ones.
Each year 1.4 million children die from diseases closely related to the lack of safe water and inadequate hygiene, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries. A very high figure that can be reduced with a very easy solution: wash your hands.
Why is it important to wash your hands?
Throughout the day , a large number of germs accumulate on the hands due to a wide selection of factors: contact with other people and surfaces, touching objects … Thus, when in contact with the nose or mouth, these germs can result contagious; Similarly, they can also be transmitted to other people through direct contact.
Hands cannot be germ-free. However, frequent washing of them helps greatly to minimize the transfer of bacteria, viruses and all types of microbes.
Experts generally recommend washing your hands every two to three hours. In addition, there are a number of actions that require a premium wash: handling food, eating, treating wounds, caring for a sick person, and inserting or removing contact lenses.
Similarly, it is recommended to wash your hands after preparing food, going to the bathroom, having direct contact with animals, blowing your nose, treating wounds and handling any type of waste.
Types of hand washing
- Routine hand washing: its main objective is to remove common germs from your hands, as well as dirt and organic matter accumulated on them. Its duration ranges from forty to sixty seconds.
- Surgical handwashing: the brushing and friction maneuvers that take place in the hands and arms before surgery by medical personnel are known as such. Its main purpose is to eliminate as much as possible of the bacterial flora that resides on the hands, thus reducing the existing risk of contamination of both the wound itself and the medical instruments. For this type of washing, a surgical sink, an automatic soap dish, a sterile brush and a nail cleaner are used.
Risks of not washing your hands
Proper hand washing greatly minimizes the risk of certain diseases, such as those explained below.
One of the main risks of not washing your hands, or doing it improperly, has to do with diarrhea. It is known as such a disorder characterized by watery and loose stools , which can occur in both adults and children. Also, bowel movements are frequent, three or more times a day.
Acute diarrhea lasts for a short time and is a relatively common problem. If it lasts for more than a few days, it can be a serious health disorder.
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both lungs . A large number of germs, such as bacteria or viruses, among others, can cause it. Although it can occur in people of all ages, it is more common in those over 65, as well as in babies and children.
The most common symptoms of pneumonia are: high fever , chills, cough with phlegm, shortness of breath, chest pain, and tiredness for no apparent reason.
It is known as such to those disorders produced by parasites , which are lodged in the vast majority of occasions in the intestine, and can lead to different damages.
The symptoms are very diverse: abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, itching in the anal area due to the release of a parasite and slow and difficult digestion.
Respiratory infections are those that affect the respiratory tract, the most common being the common cold or pharyngitis .
The common cold is characterized by the appearance of mucus, cough, sneezing, general malaise and headache; if there is infection, fever is another sign. As for pharyngitis, the main indication is a sore throat.
Skin and eye diseases
Not washing your hands implies a serious risk of suffering from different disorders that affect both the skin and the eyes. And it is that they are two of the most sensitive body areas and that, in addition, they have more contact with their hands.
How to wash your hands step by step
Here are all the points to follow to wash your hands properly. It is important to continue the following steps in strict order.
- First, they wet their hands with plenty of running water ; it must be cold, or, failing that, lukewarm. It is not advisable to wash your hands with hot water.
- Then soap is applied to the palm of the hand ; it should be the size of a walnut.
- The next step is to thoroughly lather both hands , from the fingers to the wrist; It is important to pay special attention to the area between the fingers, as well as under the nails.
- Once your hands have been properly soaped and scrubbed, it is time to rinse thoroughly.
- To finish, they dry their hands with a clean towel . To take care of both the health and the appearance of the skin, it is advisable to dry the hands with small touches, without rubbing. Then, the towel is used to turn off the tap so that the germs accumulated in it do not pass to the hands.
What if there is no soap or running water?
As we have pointed out, washing your hands with soap and water is the best method to reduce the number of germs they have. However, sometimes access to soap or running water is difficult, for example when traveling to underdeveloped countries.
In these cases it is best to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer ; it is essential that it contains at least 60% alcohol. Generally, these types of alcohol-based hand sanitizers quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands, but not all.
It is important to note that these types of products are not as effective when the hands appear dirty and greasy.
The most suitable method to apply a hand sanitizer is the following. The product is first applied to the palm of the hand and then the hands are rubbed, with particular emphasis on all surfaces until the hands are dry.
In short, washing your hands is essential to avoid contagious diseases , which can be life threatening in the case of the little ones. Therefore, we recommend doing it frequently by following the steps explained, especially when handling or consuming food.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.