How To Wash Your Hands Properly – 7 Easy Steps Of Handwashing
How To Wash Your Hands Properly – Proper hand hygiene is important to reduce the spread of infectious diseases, according to a trusted source from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In fact, studies have shown that handwashing reduces the incidence of certain respiratory and gastrointestinal infections by 23% and 48%, respectively.
Frequent handwashing is essential to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease known as COVID-19, according to the CDC.
In this article, we’ll look at the basic 7 easy steps of handwashing and protect them from germs that can cause serious infections.
How To Wash Your Hands Properly
The following are the 7 easy steps of handwashing methods approved by the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO):
Easy Steps Of Handwashing properly
- Wet your hands with clean water, preferably running water.
- Apply enough soap to cover all surfaces of the hands and wrists.
- Lather and rub your hands vigorously and thoroughly. Make sure you clean all surfaces of your hands, fingertips, nails and wrists.
- Rub your hands and wrists together for at least 20 seconds.
- Wash your hands and wrists with clean water, preferably running water.
- Dry your hands and wrists with a clean towel or let them air dry.
- Use a towel to cover the pipe.
The key to handwashing is to thoroughly cleanse all surfaces and areas of the hands, fingers, and wrists.
Here are more detailed handwashing steps recommended by the WHO. Follow them by first moistening your hands with soap and water.
- Rub your hands palm to palm in a way to circular motion.
- Clean the backside of your each hand with palm of the other hand.
- Scrub between the fingers by associating the fingers of your hand and rubbing backside and forth.
- Clean the backside of your fingers by rubbing them in interlocked position into your palm. Repeat this process for both hands.
- Clean around each thumb with other hand.
- Rub the fingertips of other hand into the palm. Repeat this process for the both hands.
- Wash each wrist of your hand with other hand.
After completing these step, you can rinse and dry your hands.
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Does it matter what soap you use?
Regular soap is just as good at disinfecting hands as over-the-counter antibacterial soap. In fact, studies have shown that antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing germs than ordinary everyday soap.
In 2017, sources believed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of the antibacterial agents triclosan and triclocarban. Reasons cited by the FDA for banning this agent include:
- Antibacterial resistance
- Systemic absorption
- Endocrine (hormone) disruption
- Allergic reactions
- Overall ineffectiveness
So, if you have an old bottle of antibacterial soap lying around, it’s best not to use it. Throw away and use regular soap.
Also, there is no evidence that water temperature matters. Washing your hands with warm water doesn’t kill more germs, according to one study.
The key is that it’s safe to use the water temperature that’s right for you and use whatever regular liquid or bar soap you have.
When You Have To Wash Your Hands
Handwashing is especially important when you are in a situation where you are more likely to pick up or spread germs. This includes:
- before, during and after cooking
- before and after you
- take food or drink
- contact with someone with an infectious disease
- entrance to a hospital, doctor’s office, nursing home, or other healthcare facility
- clean and treat cuts, burns, or wounds
- take medicines such as pills or eye drops
- use public transport, especially if you touch rails and other surfaces
- tap your phone or other mobile device
- Go to the supermarket
- After you:
- cough, sneeze or blow your nose
- touching a surface that looks dirty, or when dirt is visible on the hands
- work with cash or receipts
- tap the gas station button, ATM button, elevator button, or go button
- shake hands
- perform sexual or intimate activities
- I use the bathroom
- change diapers or clean up body waste for others
- touching or handling debris
- touching animals, animal food or waste
- touch the steel
- handle food or treats for pets
How to prevent dry or damaged skin?
Dry, irritated, and raw skin from frequent handwashing can increase your risk of infection. Skin damage can alter the flora of the skin. This, in turn, can make it easier for germs to live on your hands.
To keep your skin healthy and maintain proper hand hygiene, dermatologists offer the following tips:
- Avoid hot water and use moisturizing soaps: Wash with cold or lukewarm water. Hot water is no more effective than warm water and tends to be drier. Choose a liquid (not bar) soap with a creamy texture that contains moisturizing ingredients such as glycerin.
- Use a skin moisturizer: Look for skin creams, ointments, and balms that prevent water from leaving your skin. This includes moisturizers with ingredients like:
- occlusive agents such as lanolin acid, caprylic/capric triglycerides, mineral oil, or squalene
- humectants such as lactate, glycerin, or honey
- emollients such as aloe vera, dimethicone, or isopropyl myristate
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains a skin conditioner: Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with moisturizers help reduce skin dryness, while emollients replace some of the water released by alcohol.
What to do if soap and water are not available?
How To Wash Your Hands Properly – When handwashing is not possible or your hands are not visibly dirty, hand sanitizing with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be a viable option.
Most alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain ethanol, isopropanol, n-propanol, or a mixture of these ingredients. The most effective antimicrobial action is demonstrated by alcoholic solutions with:
- 60 to 85 percent ethanol
- 60 to 80 percent isopropanol
- 60 to 80 percent n-propanol
Ethanol appears to be more effective against viruses, while propanol works better against bacteria.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the recall of several hand sanitizers due to the possible presence of methanol.
Methanol is a toxic alcohol that can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, or headaches when applied to the skin in significant amounts. If methanol is ingested, more serious consequences may occur, such as blindness, seizures, or damage to the nervous system. Accidental or intentional use of hand sanitizers containing methanol can be fatal. See here for more information on how to identify safe hand sanitizers.
If you have purchased any hand sanitizer that contains methanol, stop using it immediately. Return it to the store where you bought it, if possible. If you experience any side effects while using it, contact your doctor. If your symptoms are life-threatening, call an ambulance right away.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers quickly and effectively kill many disease-causing agents, including:
- The Flu Virus
- Hepatitis B And C
A 2017 study also found that alcohol-based hand sanitizer formulations with ethanol, isopropanol, or both were effective in killing viral pathogens such as:
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS).
- Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus.
As with handwashing, the effectiveness of hand sanitizer depends on proper technique.
To use hand sanitizer correctly, follow these steps:
- Pour 3 to 5 ml (2/3 to 1 teaspoon) in the palm of your hand.
- Rub briskly, making sure to rub product into both hands and between fingers.
- Rub for about 25-30 seconds until your hands are completely dry.
How To Wash Your Hands Properly – Hand hygiene is an evidence-based intervention that is simple, inexpensive, and can help protect your health and the health of those around you.
Following the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, governments and community leaders around the world are calling for a concerted and collective effort to improve public hygiene practices, such as handwashing.
While washing hands with regular soap and clean running water is the preferred method of hand hygiene, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can also be an effective option.
Good hand hygiene is a measure that can be used not only during epidemics and outbreaks of other diseases. It is a proven intervention that must be practiced consistently and consciously to have the maximum impact on the health of the individual, society and the entire world.