How to Keep Hands Hygienic
Hand hygiene Facts
Hand hygiene is important. Did you know that we have between 2 and 10 million bacteria between our fingertips and our elbows? Exposure to harmful germs and bacteria such as the ones on our hands causes a whole host of medical conditions, from coughs and colds to vomiting, diarrhoea and even more serious diseases. And these illnesses can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. The good news is that simple handwashing techniques can reduce the chances of an individual contracting a disease, and also limit the spread of infections throughout communities. This is particularly important for caregivers and anyone working in a healthcare setting, as they are our first line of defense.
Worldwide, improved hand hygiene could reduce the infant mortality rate, improve school attendance, decrease work absences due to illness and lead to a better, brighter future for all. So without further ado, let’s learn more hand hygiene facts and the most effective steps of hand hygiene.
Hand hygiene steps
It should take at least fifteen seconds to wash your hands. If it takes any less time than this, you probably have not been sufficiently thorough to kill the harmful bacteria. The World Health Organisation recommends the following technique:
- Wet your hands with clean water.
- Squeeze soap or hand wash onto your hands so that you have enough to cover entire surface of hands.
- Rub your hands together with your palms facing each other.
- Place your right palm over the back of your other hand and interlace your fingers, then repeat on the other hand.
- Rub your hands together palm to palm, making sure that your fingers are interlocking.
- Place hands palm to palm, with fingers facing opposite directions. Slide your hands away from each other and bend fingertips so that your hands are interlocked. Rub the backs of your fingers against the opposing palm.
- Using your right hand, make a fist around your left thumb and rub, then repeat on the other hand.
- Clasp the fingers of your right hand together and rub your left palm with a circular motion, then do the same on the other hand.
- Rinse hands with water.
- Dry thoroughly with a towel.
When to wash your hands
We recommend incorporating hand hygiene into your daily routine and passing the habit on to your children as early as possible. However, there are certain situations when handwashing becomes even more crucial:
1. At mealtimes
When we eat, our hands come into contact with our mouth and there is an increased likelihood that we will ingest harmful germs. Washing your hands before eating reduces this risk. Hand hygiene is also an essential part of food preparation, as ingredients such as raw poultry, meat and fish can also cause serious illnesses.
2. After using the toilet
Up to half of all men and a quarter of all women do not wash their hands properly after going to the toilet, but this can have serious health implications. Handwashing should be automatic.
3. At times of increased risk
Whenever you know, or suspect, that you have been in contact with someone or something infectious, you should wash your hands. One particular example is after visiting a hospital ward: failing to wash your hands means that you are putting yourself and your community at risk. The same principle also applies to handling unclean materials such as household rubbish or dirty nappies.
4. Which soap to use
When it comes to disease prevention, the most effective defense is a powerful antibacterial soap such as the Lifebuoy Total 10 Germ Protection Hand Wash, which contains our patented ingredient, Active5. If you do not have access to clean, running water, you should use an alcohol-based product such as the Lifebuoy Total 10 Hand Sanitizer. Proven to kill 99.9% of germs in just 10 seconds, it even contains moisturizers and Vitamin E to help keep your hands soft and smooth.