Hand hygiene dos and don'ts: 8 expert tips to clean and hygienic hands
It is no secret that the germs are primarily transmitted by our hands and something as banal as washing hands in a clean and hygienic manner can be incredibly effective in preventing infectious diseases as according to the UNICEF, we can lessen the chances of being infected by Covid-19 by 36% by properly washing hands as is the most effective way to avoid the spread of infections and keep sickness at bay. Moreover, studies have found that washing one’s hands with soap can prevent 1 in 3 people getting diarrhoea and 1 in 5 people from respiratory illness -- both the diseases are a major reason of child mortality in India.
Looking back to the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and instinctively thinking of all the precautionary measures we took to stay protected from Covid-19, Dipak Shah, Associate Scientist, Research and Development at Himalaya Wellness Company, said, “It was at this point that people recognised the need to adopt personal and hand hygiene practices. We had to change our hand hygiene habits at the onset of the pandemic. These long-overdue changes finally taught us that hand hygiene is not only a basic habit but also key to staying healthy.”
He said that even though the peak of the pandemic seems behind us, it is important to not lose focus on washing and sanitising our hands as good hand hygiene, especially washing our hands, is fundamental in staying protected against all kinds of germs. He listed 8 quick tips to ensure hand hygiene:
1. Always wash your hands with soap and water as often as possible, especially before touching your face, consuming food, or treating any kind of wounds. Also be sure to wash your hands after touching surfaces that might be contaminated, such as elevator buttons or door handles. Most importantly, wash your hands after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
2. Never wash your hands in a rush. This is where most of us go wrong, but it is the most important step in hand hygiene. Make sure to scrub your hands, wrists, and between your fingers with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Remember to also scrub the back of your hands and under your fingernails.
3. Use a soap or liquid handwash and preferably one with the goodness of Tulsi, Aloe Vera, and Lemon, as they have skin-conditioning and germ-kill properties that help get rid of germs and keep your hands nourished.
4. Dry your hands completely. Do not leave your hands wet as moisture can increase the chances of bacteria and germs spreading.
5. Wipe your hands with a clean towel or tissue or let them air-dry. Avoid using hand dryers in public restrooms, as they tend to spread more germs.
6. It is difficult to keep track of the surfaces you’re encountering. Therefore, it is best to carry a pack of handwipes for protection against germs. Look for one infused with natural ingredients like Aloe vera, Tulsi, and Lemon, as these herbs are known for their skin-conditioning benefits and help soften hands.
7. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs. However, carrying a small bottle of sanitizer is helpful when you do not have access to water and soap. Look out for sanitizers with natural ingredients like Coriander, Ushira, Nutgrass, Neem, and Spiked Ginger Lily, as these herbs are known for their germ-kill properties and help ensure soft and germ-free hands.
8. While adults may have the basic knowledge of hand hygiene, parents should guide children and teach them the importance of washing their hands with the right technique mentioned above for at least 20 seconds.
He added, “Hand hygiene is a norm that should be followed throughout our lives and the first step is to follow the rules that apply to ensure clean hands and a healthy body and thereby, a happy life.”