Reasons Why Handwashing Is Important

June 3, 2023

Although handwashing only takes a few seconds, it is a vital practice. Proper handwashing starts with individuals wetting their hands with warm water and then adding some soap. Next, they need to rub their hands together with the soap for twenty seconds. This must include the backs of their hands, the areas underneath their fingernails, and between their fingers. After this, individuals can rinse their hands and dry them with a clean towel.

It is vital for individuals to practice this proper handwashing technique. Doing so helps in many ways. Reports indicate that proper handwashing is an effective treatment for the common cold. In fact, it can even prevent the common cold. Some individuals may want antibacterial hand wash liquid for their bathroom. There is also hand wash for sensitive skin, as well as quality hand sanitizers. Of course, everyone should also understand why handwashing is so important.

Prevent Spreading Illnesses to Others

Of course, handwashing is crucial to prevent spreading illnesses to others. Proper handwashing can remove the germs that cause respiratory illnesses and many different infections. Individuals can pick up germs by touching contaminated surfaces, especially those in public areas that are touched frequently.

If an individual is sick, they must wash their hands after sneezing, coughing, blowing their nose, or using tissues. They must also remember to wash their hands before and after handling any used tissues or other items they touched while sick, including masks, medical gloves, and medicine containers. In addition, individuals need to wash their hands before and after changing bandages or touching wounds. Doctors and healthcare personnel should always wash their hands before seeing each patient.

Prevent Food Contamination

Handwashing helps prevent food contamination. Germs that cause diarrhea, hepatitis A, colds, and the flu can all be transferred to food if proper handwashing is not practiced. Transferring bacteria from food to food, such as raw chicken to vegetables, is also an issue that handwashing can prevent. When preparing food at home, individuals should always wash their hands thoroughly for at least twenty seconds before handling any food items, as well as when they switch to something different. A key example is washing after handling raw meat but before fruits or vegetables. This can help individuals avoid cross-contamination.

In addition, it can help if individuals wash their hands immediately after returning from the grocery store, as well as immediately before eating. Individuals should wash their hands before handling meat when they are cooking at home. Individuals should wash their hands after eating too, and restaurant workers must wash their hands before they return to their workstations after breaks.

Prevent Germ Transfer To Face

Throughout the day, everyone picks up germs on their hands as they touch surfaces around them. Unfortunately, when someone touches their face, they can transfer these germs into their body. Thankfully, individuals can break the link between germs on their hands and developing an illness by keeping their hands clean with proper handwashing. Experts estimate that the average individual touches their face sixteen times every hour. Everyone touches their nose, mouth, and eyes. Touching these areas allows germs to enter the body.

Experts recommend washing hands frequently to prevent germ transfer. If individuals do not have access to a sink, hand sanitizer can be used. They should wash their hands when they arrive at work and when they come home. Individuals should also wash their hands after arriving home from errands and after visiting any location outside their home. It is especially crucial for individuals to wash their hands after visiting someone who is sick and after handling food, trash, money, pets, or any items that may not be clean.

Avoid Falling Ill

Handwashing is one of the most vital steps individuals can take to avoid falling ill. According to the latest estimates, handwashing prevents around thirty percent of illnesses related to diarrhea. In addition, handwashing stops twenty percent of colds and other respiratory infections. It also helps combat antibiotic resistance. Handwashing with soap is especially important for children. Scientists estimate that handwashing with soap protects one in three children who fall ill with diarrhea, and it is believed to protect one in five children who are ill with pneumonia and other respiratory infections.

Individuals need to wash their hands with soap after using the toilet to avoid falling ill. There are over one trillion germs in a gram of human feces, and the germs can cause norovirus, adenovirus, and hand-foot-mouth disease. Proper handwashing techniques reduce colds and respiratory illnesses by up to twenty-one percent in the general population and decrease diarrhea by as much as forty percent. Proper handwashing cuts the rate of diarrheal illness by up to fifty-eight percent in individuals with weakened immune systems as well. Among schoolchildren, handwashing reduces absences due to gastrointestinal illness by up to fifty-seven percent.

Many Individuals Forget To Do It

As discussed, handwashing is vital in the prevention of illness, but many individuals forget to do it. Globally, only nineteen percent of individuals wash their hands after using the toilet. In the United States, twenty-five percent of individuals forget to wash their hands at crucial moments, including after visiting the toilet and after blowing their nose. It is vital to establish a handwashing habit. However, when handwashing with soap and water is not possible, it can help if individuals keep some hand sanitizer with them at all times so that they can still clean their hands well.

At home, individuals may want to put handwashing reminders near their sinks. Setting reminders on their phone may be helpful for handwashing while they are at work or away from home as well. It is crucial to remind children to wash their hands and to practice proper handwashing techniques at home.

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