We have been taught all our lives to wash our hands—before we eat, after using the restroom, while we are cooking, and so on. Washing our hands can be such an important part of our daily health and hygiene, yet sometimes it is easy to forget how and when to wash our hands thoroughly. To celebrate National Hand Hygiene Day (which is May 5th), we here at The Colony ER Hospital want to give you some helpful hints for how to keep your hands clean this year.
When to Wash
In theory, we should all wash our hands when we have touched something which might expose the rest of the body to germs. But, realistically, that would mean we would all be washing our hands 10 or more times a day! Germs exist just about everywhere and while most of them are harmless, some can lead to serious illness. Picking up the TV remote might mean you touch germs, but they won’t necessarily be the kind that can harm you. Conversely, cutting up raw chicken for dinner will put you in contact with bacteria like salmonella, which can make you very ill and even cause life-threatening complications. This makes it important to prioritize when you wash your hands. Follow this list for an easy guide:
- Before and after preparing food
- After using the bathroom
- Before eating a meal
- After handling dirty dishes or other house-cleaning chores
These are some of the most common places you’ll find harmful germs. When you are washing your hands, it is important to remember that your hands do a lot more than just help you eat. We touch our faces, scratch an itch, maybe touch our eyes or ears, and these can all be ways to get an infection without even realizing it. So always be mindful when you are touching food, cleaning, or even shaking hands.
How to Wash
Even if you are washing your hands before and after you cook dinner, you might still be spreading germs to yourself and others. It all depends on how thoroughly you wash your hands.
Warm water and soap are essential, and experts at the CDC recommend washing your hands for at least 20 seconds (you can hum the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice if you need help timing this). While your fingers and palms are very important parts of the hand to wash, make sure you are thorough. Teach yourself and your children to wash the backs of their hands, in between their fingers, and underneath their fingernails. You know you will be helping to stop the spread of illnesses in adults and children if you do this every time.
What to do After You Wash
This one is obvious, right? Dry them off!
Well, to properly take care of your hands, you want to do a bit more. People with sensitive skin can relate when we say that washing your hands a lot can dry them out and hurt your skin. Sometimes, maintaining proper hygiene means that you need to spend a little extra time pampering yourself. Try keeping some basic hand cream around the house, so after you are done cooking and washing dishes, you can use a bit of moisturizer. Cuticle oil, as well, is great to use a few times a week to keep your hands strong and healthy.
This May, try to be more mindful about your hands. Make sure they stay clean to stop the spread of household germs in your family and remember to moisturize so that your hands stay smooth and healthy. Maintaining good hand hygiene can help decrease the spread of colds by as much as 21%, according to the CDC, which makes it a good way to keep your immune system strong.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on The Colony Emergency Room Hospital or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.