Now that the world is still in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, our usual routine has drastically changed. This Global Handwashing Day, specialists from local to international organizations are urging everyone to integrate hand washing into our daily lives.
Importance of Hand Hygiene during this pandemic
Our hands are one of the main pathways of germ transmission. There are a lot of possible exposures that our hands get in contact with daily such as:
• Handling of raw food products when preparing food
• Use of the toilet
• Changing diapers
• Touching common objects like doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, remote controls that may be contaminated (ex: someone accidently coughing/sneezing then touches the object).
The bacteria or virus can then get into the human body through foods or drinks that are taken or by touching one’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
It is thus important to always keep our hands clean to prevent the spread of harmful pathogens and avoid getting sick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a community that practices proper hand washing will experience a significant decrease in the number of people developing hygiene-related diseases.
How to properly wash your hands
This is where the importance of appropriate handwashing with soap comes into play, as proper handwashing with soap reduces the spread of germs. Simply follow these handwashing measures to keep your hands clean:
1. Rinse hands with clean tap water (either cold or warm). Turn off the tap and wash hands with soap.
2. Make sure the soap is lathered by hand. Rub the palms and between the fingers thoroughly, removing any dirt that has become compressed under the nails. Just keep going for another 20 seconds. As a timer, you can sing and finish “Happy Birthday” twice.
3. Dry hands with a clean towel or an air dryer.If the hands are not visibly soiled or there is no available soap and water, an alcohol-based formulation may be used to clean the hands.
The most effective thing you can do to protect yourself from a variety of infectious diseases, such as common cold, is to wash your hands properly and teach your children to do the same. Washing your hands not only prevents you from getting sick, but it also reduces the risk of infecting others.