The current health crisis has made everyone realise the importance of maintaining personal hygiene. Hand-washing, says Dr Rohan Sequeira, Consultant General Medicine, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre, is an easy way to prevent infection, especially during these covid times. Understanding when to wash your hands, how to properly use hand sanitizer and how to get your children into the habit could be the biggest preventive measure you can take
“Frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting infected and spreading illness. Hand-washing requires only soap and water. Preferably a disinfectant soap. Also, studies have proven that liquid soaps have a slightly better effect than soap bars and gels,” he tells indianexpress.com on the occasion of Global Handwashing Day.
When to wash your hands
As you touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, you accumulate infectious agents on your hands. In turn, you can infect yourself with these, by touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Although it’s impossible to keep your hands germ-free, washing your hands frequently can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. Covid 19 is a respiratory virus and hence it is important to make sure your hands stay clean as they are the part of the body that touches your face all the time.
Always wash your hands before:
· Preparing food or eating
· Giving medicine to family members, or caring for a sick or injured person
· Inserting or removing contact lenses
Always wash your hands after:
· Using public spaces and articles like door handles, taxis, ATM and lift buttons.
· Preparing food, especially raw meat or poultry
· Using the toilet or changing a diaper
· Touching an animal or animal toys, leashes or waste
· Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
· Treating wounds or caring for a sick or injured person
· Handling garbage, household or garden chemicals, or anything that could be contaminated — such as a cleaning cloth or soiled shoes
· Shaking hands with others should be avoided but if you do then sanitise and clean with soap and water after that
In addition, wash your hands whenever they look dirty.
How to wash your hands
It’s generally best to wash your hands with soap and water. Follow these simple steps:
· Wet your hands with running water — either warm or cold.
· Apply liquid, bar or powder soap.
· Lather well.
· Rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub all surfaces, including the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
· Rinse well.
· Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel or air dryer.
· If possible, use a towel or your elbow to turn off the faucet.
Antibacterial soaps, such as those containing triclosan, are no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap.