Wash Your Hands!
Everyone knows washing one's hands is important. We see reminders everywhere. Restaurant workers must wash their hands before leaving the restroom. People feeding, grooming, or touching animals must wash their hands. Nursing students studying for a masters in nursing online learn about hand washing. Nursery school teachers show their young students the correct way to wash their hands. Do you know why it is important to wash your hands? Are you aware that you should wash your hands for the amount of time it takes you to hum the "Happy Birthday" song twice?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that non-pharmaceutical interventions help prevent diseases from spreading. The interventions stop the transfer of microbes ("germs") without a person taking medication or getting vaccinated. Microbes — bacteria and viruses — are spread by touching another person. Transfer occurs when you touch a contaminated surface or object and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. Infectious diseases — in particular flu, gastrointestinal infections, and hepatitis — travel from one person to another via contaminated hands. A very effective and very easy way to prevent disease is to wash your hands frequently.
Electronic Equipment — Top Microbe Source
If you work in an office or you freelance from home, you have the potential for being exposed to bacteria and viruses. If you are in a work situation in which computers, printers, fax machines, and other pieces of electronic equipment that you use are also used by colleagues, you might put your hand on some microbes and then get a snack from the break room or decide to put your contact lenses in. If you work from home, you might stop to feed your dog or cat without washing your hands afterwards.
The Correct Way to Wash Your Hands
There is an excellent article, "Hand Washing: Reducing the Risk of Common Infections," on the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Web site. The article discusses why washing hands is important, when a person should wash their hands, the correct way to wash one's hands, and antibacterial soaps and waterless hand scrubs.
Use soap and running water to wash your hands. It doesn't matter whether the water is hot or cold. Wet your hands thoroughly, turn the water off, and apply soap. Rub your hands to create lather. Scrub your palms, back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Rinse the soap off. You can dry your hands with a paper towel or use an air dryer.
Washing your hands is the most effective way to stop the spread of infection. Use soap and running water to wash your hands when it is possible to do so. The process doesn't kill the microbes. It allows the germs to slide off your hands. If soap and running water isn't available, use a waterless hand cleaner. When you return to an area with running water, use soap to clean your hands again.