Proper Hand Cleaning

Proper Hand Cleaning

Contact transmission is the most common way to transfer diseases and viruses. Hands carry a lot of germs—about 3,200 different germs belonging to over 150 species live. Not all of these germs are dangerous, but some of them are. Germs spread by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with dirty hands; preparing food or drinks with dirty hands; touching surfaces or objects that have germs; and blowing your nose or coughing into your hands then touching people or objects before washing. Washing our hands is the best way to limit the transfer of germs from one person to another or to keep them from getting into our system. But not just any washing. There is a proper way to wash hands that ensure you get rid of all those unwanted germs.

How to Wash Your Hands

You already know to wash your hands after using the bathroom or after your blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into your hands. But you should also wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food as well as before and after you eat. If you’re caring for a sick person, wash your hands often. When treating wounds or cuts, you’ll need to wash your hands before and after treatment. Changing diapers, touching animals, handling pet food, or touching garbage are all other reasons to wash hands.

There is a five-step guide for washing hands effectively:

  1. Wet hands with clean, running water and apply soap. (Standing water may be contaminated, so clean running water is best. Soap does not have to be antibacterial.)
  2. Lather the soap in your hands by rubbing them together. Be sure to get the backs of your hands, under your fingernails, and between each finger. (Lathering created friction, which will help to lift dirt and microbes from the skin.)
  3. Scrub for at least 20 seconds. (Evidence shows that washing for 20-30 seconds removes more germs than shorter periods.)
  4. Rinse thoroughly under clean, running water. (Rinsing with clean, running water will help rinse away all the germs you just lifted from the lather friction.)
  5. Dry hands with a clean towel or by air drying. (Germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands vs dry hands.)

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers are great to use if you don’t have access to running, clean water and soap. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain at least 60% alcohol which will help get rid of many types of germs, but not all. They may not be as effective on grease, chemicals, pesticides, or heavy metals. When using hand sanitizers, be sure to apply the product on the palm of one hand (read the label to determine the dosage amount, as each brand is different), the rub your hands together, getting the backs and between each finger. Afterward, you need to let your hands dry completely before touching anything.

Businesses should supply hand washing stations for all employees. They also should have sanitizers around the office for easy and quick cleaning. Shield-Safety has several kinds and sizes of FDA-approved hand sanitizers for your home or office.

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