Due to the pandemic, hand hygiene is highlighted as being more important than ever for the safety of not only yourself but also of the people around you.
Why wash your hands?
Every day, we use our hands so often that we unknowingly have picked up bacteria and germs. They can get onto your hands after using the toilet. You can also get contaminated after handling raw meats when you’re preparing dinner. Maybe you touched a contaminated surface or object like your phone or a remote. And so you go about your day with microbes on your hand and then you unconsciously touch parts of your face. The bacteria then go in through your eyes, nose or mouth and that’s how you get infected and catch a disease. That makes our hands, then, the main pathway of germ transmission.
So to avoid getting sick, especially during the pandemic and flu season, handwashing is very important. You are also keeping other people safe by not spreading germs around when you clean your hands.
Some studies prove the importance of hand hygiene. For instance, experts have learned that routine handwashing could save a million lives every year. Frequent hand hygiene can also reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrheal illness by 58% and respiratory illness by 16-21% and decrease the risk of foodborne illnesses and infections.
When to wash hands
So now we know the importance of hand hygiene. We understand that regular hand washing should be done often, especially during these times. So what are the key times we should be washing our hands?
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before and after eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- After using the toilet
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
- After touching an animal
- After touching garbage
These are all pretty common sense, but sometimes people forget, so it’s good to remind yourself or someone you know to wash your hands during those key times.
How to keep it clean
To keep your hands clean, you’ll need to be washing them with soap and warm water. Hot water is not enough to kill germs and it also dries out your skin. Dry skin is prone to cracking and peeling, which makes it easier for contaminants to infect you. It’s best to use warm soapy water because it’s more effective at removing the natural oils that hold the bacteria on our hands.
If you have no access to soap and water, it’s best to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol with you at all times. Hand sanitizers or hand cleansing sprays also make it convenient for us to keep our hands clean even when we’re out. They are also readily available and some even have moisturizing effects to keep the hand healthy and hydrated. Island Essence, for instance, sells products specifically for hand hygiene, such as soaps and hand cleansing sprays.
You can also practice off-hand habits. As mentioned earlier, we tend to unconsciously touch our faces often. Experts say that, on average, we do it 25 times per hour. Develop a habit of periodically keeping your hands clear of your face. If you need to rub your nose or wipe your eye, grab a tissue first. And when sneezing or coughing, do it on the crook of your elbow or your upper arm.
If you’re looking for all-natural hand cleansers and antibacterial liquid hand soaps that will both clean and protect your hands, visit Island Essence and browse through their Hawaiian PPE collection.