To stay clear of diseases and germs that could degenerate into much worse illnesses, it is imperative to cultivate and maintain an exhaustive hand hygiene habit.
Hand hygiene is an essential requisite for anyone who does not want to suffer preventable gastrointestinal and respiratory infections that are responsible for serious complications, especially for young children and those with a weakened immune system. Washing hands with soap and clean, running water is one of the ways we can maintain health hygiene and avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), over 1.5 million children under five die each year as a result of diarrhea, making it the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide. However, hand-washing with soap at critical times, including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet, can reduce diarrhea rates by more than 40 per cent.
Also, studies carried out during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2006 suggest that washing hands more than 10 times a day can cut the spread of the respiratory virus by 55 per cent, with the scary statistics mentioned above, it becomes visible that, to stay clear of diseases and germs that could degenerate into much worse illnesses, it is imperative to cultivate and maintain an exhaustive hand hygiene habit.
Most people probably think that hand washing requires a long period of time, or is in fact a strenuous exercise. But this misconception is false. All over the world, it is medically believed that you need between 20 and 30 seconds to wash your hands. This means that, in less than a minute, it is possible to save almost 2 million lives if we all took the time out to wash our hands with clean water and soap.
How You Should Wash Your Hands
- Wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap.
- Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Alternative Hand-Washing Advice
Even though washing our hands with soap and clean water is the most reliable way of reducing the germs they carry, there are, however, instances when we do not have access to water and/or soap.
The use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers is advised in cases like this. Ensure that the hand sanitizer contains 60% alcohol to be effective. Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. But it is important to note that sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
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