Three and a half years into the Covid pandemic; we are still living through it, day in and out struggling to beat the Coronavirus and its multitudinous strains that have affected our lives in many ways. Besides several best measures we all try to fuse into our routine such as maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowded places, practicing cough etiquette, wearing a mask, and so on, the simple act of handwashing with soap remains one of our best defenses against deadly pathogens and viruses. Moreover, there are several diseases caused by these nasty microorganisms that hover around us all the time. Thus, keeping our hands clean has always been one of the most effective ways to let these issues remain at bay.
Each year, the World Health Organization celebrates 5th May as World Hand Hygiene Day-a campaign that aims to reiterate and support hand hygiene and its importance in the healthcare domain across the globe. This year marks seventy-five fabulous years of the World Health Organization. Under the campaign theme for 2023: "Together, we can accelerate action to prevent infections and antimicrobial resistance in health care and build a culture of safety and quality in which hand hygiene improvement is given high priority", the campaign aims to keep hands clean and free of germs by handwashing. Besides the campaign, the slogan for this year is "Accelerate action together. Save Lives. Clean Your Hands."
Hand Washing - Why It Is Important?
As we embrace the new normal along with other Covid 19-appropriate behaviors, hand hygiene is an integral part of our daily routine and is of critical importance. When it comes to keeping us safe from bacterial and viral infections, hand hygiene comes as a great help, hence it has been strongly recommended and always insisted upon. Broadly we should focus on two aspects of hand hygiene- ‘when and how’.
When To Wash Your Hands?
Amongst many others, below are the prime reasons why you must wash your hands:
- After using the toilet
- Before, during and after handling raw and cooked food
- Before and after touching food
- After blowing your nose or sneezing
- Before and after attending to ailing family members or friends
- After handling kitchen trash
- After working in the kitchen garden. Gloves can be used while gardening to prevent a build-up of ingrained soil
- After handling animals or serving them food
- When you get home from an outside environment
- After removing shoes
- After touching public surfaces
How To Wash Your Hands Properly?
Here are the key steps on how to wash hands that you should follow to a T:
- Wet your hands with clean hot or cold running water
- Apply soap and lather well for 20 seconds, or even longer if the dirt is ingrained
- Remove rings before you wash your hands (at least occasionally) as microorganisms can hide under them
- Rub hands together rapidly across all surfaces of your hands, at the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails
- Rinse well under running water to remove all soap residues
- Dry your hands using a clean towel. Paper towels or single-use cloth towels are also good to be used
- Use a hand moisturizer to retain the softness of your hands instead of not washing your hands to avoid dryness
- Hot air dryers are a safe option and can be used wherever they are available