Common Conditions

Hand Washing: The Good Habit That Can Save a Life

Hopefully, washing your hands is a part of your daily routine. But, do you know how important this simple task really is? As you were growing up, parents and teachers may have nagged you to wash your hands. After using the restroom or after you’ve touched something sticky this became routine. But have they ever told you to wash your hands frequently throughout the day because it could prevent you from getting sick? Hand washing is a good habit to start, and it can ultimately save your life.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing your hands can decrease your chances of intercepting various diarrheal and respiratory illnesses. “Regular hand washing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others,” the CDC stated in an article.

How Should I Wash My Hands?

There are five steps that you should be implementing into your daily hand washing routine: wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry. This promotes the most effective way to ward off illnesses during the cold season:

Wet your hands with clean water thoroughly, turn off the running water, and apply soap.

Lather the backs of your hands, the fronts of your hands, and between all your fingers with the soap. Even clean under your nails.

Scrub your hands for twenty seconds.

Rinse all those germs away with clean water.

Dry your hands by either using an air dryer or a clean towel.

When Should I Wash My Hands?

If you are debating whether you should wash your hands, you should. Think of washing your hands before doing something and after doing something. For example, wash your hands before eating food, before treating a wound, and before taking care of another person who is sick. Wash your hands after using the restroom, after sneezing or coughing, and after touching an animal.

If you’re wondering how to prevent a cold, especially during the cold season, make sure that you are washing your hands often. Even if there isn’t anyone around you who caught the cold, it could just take one touch of a door handle in a public restroom to get an illness. Washing your hands doesn’t only help yourself to not get sick, but it helps prevent the spread of colds and illnesses to other people.

What About Hand Sanitizer?

The CDC states that alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which contain about 60% alcohol, can reduce the number of germs on the hands. Although, this is not a fool-proof way to ward off illnesses. Hand washing is always the most effective way to promote good hygiene, but when there is no sink around, hand sanitizer is better than nothing.

Here are some tips when using hand sanitizer instead of traditional soap and water:

  • Apply the correct amount of sanitizer to the hands. You don’t want too much or too little. You can find out by reading what the brand recommends on the packaging.
  • Rub the sanitizer all over your hands until your hands are completely dry. Be sure that there is no more wetness on your hands from the product.
  • Make sure that your hands are not dirty and do not display grease on them. The product doesn’t work as effectively when other substances are present.

Since proper hand washing takes a few minutes out of your day, someone may be prone to skipping doing it. If this is you, remember: you’re not only protecting yourself from illnesses, but you’re protecting those around you.

Reach out to BASS Advanced Urgent Care in Walnut Creek if you or your loved one is suffering from a contagious illness.