Washing hands concept. Man cleaning his hands using liquid disinfectant soap and water in bathroom, close up, top view. Personal hygiene, health care and Coronavirus prevention.
Stopping the spread of germs is an important step each of us can take to help keep our communities and families safe. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs, including the new coronavirus – but it’s essential to be thorough. If you’re committing one of the following mistakes, your hands may not be as clean as you think, so we included some tips for correcting them.
- Using hand sanitizer when soap and water are available. Sanitizers are a convenient way to clean your hands. However, they should just be a backup if soap and water are unavailable. While hand sanitizers can reduce germs, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) says they don’t get rid of all types of germs. If your hands are visibly greasy or dirty, hand sanitizers may not be very effective. Also, if you have harmful chemicals on your hands – such as heavy metals and pesticides – hand sanitizers may not remove them. When using a hand sanitizer, check the product label to ensure it contains a minimum of 60% alcohol.
- Just rinsing. Make sure you are washing your hands with soap and water frequently throughout the day. Always wash them with soap and water after using the restroom and before eating. Don’t get lazy and skip the soap. Although plain water is better than nothing, according to the CDC, adding soap is much more effective at removing germs, dirt, and harmful chemicals from your skin.
- Using antibacterial soap. Both the CDC and U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommend washing with regular soap and water to kill germs and prevent the spread of disease. There’s no need to use antibacterial soap to wash your hands. The FDA says there is not enough evidence that antibacterial soaps are better at preventing the spread of illness than regular soap. Additionally, one ingredient, triclosan, is being examined for its possible effect on human health.
- Washing your hands infrequently. Washing your hands infrequently can leave you and those around you at risk. You want to wash your hands often with soap and water, both to protect yourself and to prevent the spread of germs. Warm water or cold, bar soap, or liquid… all are fine, the CDC says.
The CDC recommends washing your hands particularly:
- During and after prepping food and before eating.
- Before and after caring for a sick person with vomiting and diarrhea, and before and after treating a wound or a cut.
- After using the toilet, helping a child use the toilet or changing a diaper.
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- After touching animals (they can spread disease), their food or their waste, and after handling pet food and treats.
- After touching trash.
- Washing your hands too quickly. Don’t be in a hurry when washing your hands. Many people put soap on their hands, rub them together a few times, rinse and call them clean. This may remove some germs, but not enough to prevent the spread of disease. The CDC recommends washing your hands for 15 to 30 seconds to remove germs. Worldwide, many countries and global organizations have adopted guidelines for washing hands for about 20 seconds. To keep track of the time, hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice while scrubbing with soap and water.
- Ignoring your fingernails. Your fingernails are great hiding places for germs and bacteria. People often ignore them during hand-washing and focus on their palms. Make sure you clean well under your fingernails, especially if they are long.
- Not drying your hands after washing. Wet hands make it easier to transfer germs, so it’s important to dry them after washing. There is no consensus on the best way to dry your hands. Studies suggest that a clean towel works best to keep germs at bay.
Source: Money Talks News