Proper hand washing is important in maintaining good hygiene. It is vital to wash hands after using the toilet, handling animals, changing diapers as well as before and after handling food in order to prevent the spread of disease. When washing your hands, you have to use soap and warm running water for at least 10 seconds. By enrolling in a first aid course, you will learn that proper hygiene includes hand washing especially when performing first aid measures.
There are a number of infections that can be spread from one individual to another if hands are contaminated, especially gastrointestinal infections, hepatitis and influenza. By washing your hands properly, it can help prevent the spread of organisms that causes these diseases. Take note that certain strains of gastroenteritis can cause severe complications particular among young children, elderly and individuals with a declining immune system. After washing hands, make sure that you will dry them properly.
The right time to wash your hands
You have to observe proper hand washing for the following:
- Before eating
- Before the preparation of food
- Between handling raw and cooked or ready-to-eat foods
- After using the toilet or changing diapers
- After using a handkerchief or tissue
- After smoking
- After working in the garden
- After handling animals
- After attending to sick family members
Proper hand washing method
It is important to wash your hands properly whether at home or workplace. Do not forget that when performing basic first aid such as wound care, you should also wash your hands. You have to follow these steps so that your hands are always clean.
- Wet your hands using warm water.
- Use soap, preferably liquid soap and create lather for 15-20 seconds or longer if dirt is difficult to remove.
- Rub your hands together briskly over all surfaces including the wrists to remove germs and dirt.
- Wash the back of your hands, wrists, spaces between fingers and under the fingernails.
- If possible, remove rings and watches before washing your hands or make sure that you washed the area under them since dirt and germs can get embedded under them.
- Rinse properly under running water and make sure that all traces of soap are removed since leftover residue can cause irritation.
- Pat your hands dry using paper towels and make sure that they are dried properly.
- Make sure that the area under rings is dry since they can become a source of contamination if they stay moist.
- If a hot air dryer is available, you can use one to dry your hands but make sure that your hands are properly dried.
How to take care of your hands
Take note that hand washing is only a part of proper hand hygiene. It is also important to look after your skin since it functions as a barrier against infection. Once your hands are dried thoroughly, you can apply a water-based absorbent hand cream. You can also use gloves when washing or gardening for protection.