Some people are overly fussy about washing their hands all the time while others don’t clean them as much. But for most part we clean our hands when they get dirty or are stained.
Cleaning our hands prevents the transferring and spreading of nasty germs that we come into contact with in the toilet, through door handles, from an ATM, from a handshake, after touching the sick and from the many surfaces we touch. Germs from our hands gain entry into our bodies when we use them to rub our eyes and nose or ingest through the mouth. So many times these actions are done unconsciously that we are unaware of the germ transfer that takes place. You could fall ill from an infection if you have a weak immune system.
Hand Washing Kills Germs
Hand washing with soap and water can kill germs that cause:
The common cold
Influenza and pneumonia
Skin infection from drug-resistant MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
Stomach infections from bacteria such as campylobacter, salmonella, and norovirus
The Proper Way to Clean
How many of us merely flick our hands under a tap and think that will do? The right way to clean our hands begins like this:
Plain or Antibacterial Soap?
The verdict has been out that an antibacterial soap is not more effective than plain soap. In addition the common ingredient called triclosan, a chlorinated phenolic compound, found in antibacterial soap is of a health concern because of the creation of hardier bacteria that resists antibiotics. Triclosan has also been found to disrupt hormone activity involving the hormones estrogen and androgen.
When to Wash
Remember to practice good hygiene and have your hands cleaned:
Before and after food preparation, especially after handling raw meat
Before cleaning your face
Before putting on your contact lenses
After each toilet visit
After changing diapers
After handling rubbish or waste
After touching animals
Before and after treating cuts and wounds
Before taking or giving medicine
After touching the sick or injured
After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing into your hands
Because hand washing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent infections in developing countries, 15 October is even designated as a Global Handwashing Day.