When it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones from viruses, fungi and bacteria, hand washing gets the high five.
Now, more than ever, there is a strong emphasis on the importance of hand hygiene, says Affinity Health. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community. Best of all, washing your hands is quick, easy, and one of the cheapest ways to effectively kill germs and prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
Handwashing has been a central component of personal hygiene and a religious and cultural custom since as early as the mid-1800s. Before then, it was thought that diseases were spread by miasma (bad smells in the air), emanating from rotting corpses, sewage, or vegetation. After much research, however, it was found that dirty hands were mostly to blame.
Germs from unwashed hands can also be transferred to objects, like handrails, counters, electronics, or toys, and then moved to another person’s hands. Today, we know that just 30 seconds of handwashing with soap and water reduces the bacterial count on your hands by up to 83 percent. Regular handwashing has become a rule of thumb for everyone from nurses and doctors, to restaurant and grocery store owners, to families worldwide.
“Good handwashing is the first line of defence against the spread of many illnesses – from the common cold to more serious infections including Covid-19,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“The key to keeping safe is to wash your hands often, not forgetting areas between your fingers, under your nails, and all the way up to your wrists. It is important to always wash your hands before eating and cooking, after using the bathroom, after touching animals, before and after visiting or taking care of any sick friends or relatives, after visiting busy shopping centres or malls, and after blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.”
The best way to scrub those germs away is to wet your hands with clean water and, using a bar of soap, lather up for about 20 seconds. Rinse and dry well with a clean towel. If soap and water are not available, you can always substitute with over-the-counter antibacterial wet wipes, rubs, sprays, or sanitisers.
A good handwashing product should contain 60 to 95 percent isopropanol or ethanol, so check the ingredients listed on the product.
This article was published in partnership with Media Xpose.