11 May Adopting This One Simple Habit Could Save Your Life
Hand-washing is one of the easiest and most effective methods of preventing diseases like flu, diarrhea, hepatitis A, food poisoning and colds. Some of these diseases can be life-threatening and this means that washing your hands properly can actually save your life.
When You Should Wash Your Hands
You need to wash your hands frequently, particularly during cold and flu season, in order to minimize the risk of being infected or spreading cold and flu. Washing your hands before, during and after food preparation minimizes your chances of getting or spreading the bacteria that is responsible for food poisoning. You need to be particularly careful and make a point of washing your hands prior to and after preparing foods such as seafood, raw eggs, poultry or meat.
After visiting the bathroom or changing diapers, washing your hands minimizes the likelihood of contracting or spreading contagious diseases such as hepatitis A or salmonella. It is important to wash your hands when caring for people who are sick and is especially vital before and after treating cuts and wounds. You should also wash your hands before eating in order to avoid ingesting any disease-causing pathogens.
As a general rule, always wash your hands after:
-Touching any parts of the body that are unclean.
-Visiting the bathroom.
-Sneezing, using tissues or handkerchiefs or coughing.
-Preparing or handling foodstuffs, particularly uncooked fish, eggs, or raw meat.
-Handling or coming into close contact with any animal, pet food or treats, and animal waste.
-Shaking other people’s hands, using the phone, changing diapers or handling garbage.
Recommended Procedure for Proper Hand Washing
The American Center for Disease Control and Prevention advocates that people use the following procedure to ensure effective hand washing:
- Use running water to wet your hands before applying soap.
- Thoroughly rub your hands together in order to produce a lather. Scrub vigorously for a minimum of twenty seconds.
- As you scrub, put special emphasis on the backs of your hands, the areas between your fingers and underneath your fingernails.
- Thoroughly rinse your hands under running water.
- When drying your hands, use a clean towel.
It is advisable to let the water continue running as you use a paper towel to dry your hands. You can then use the paper towel to hold and turn off the faucet. The paper towel will help to protect your clean hands from coming into contact with any germs that may be lodged on the faucet.
Where soap and water may not be available, you can either use a hand wipe that is alcohol-based (made with a minimum of 60 percent isopropanol or ethyl alcohol) or a hand sanitizer. Take either of these with you as you travel and have them in your purse or your car. Such products can help to minimize the amount of germs on your hands, but note that they do not kill all categories of germs.
When using a sanitizer, ensure you rub your fingers and hands until they are completely dry. There is no need of using water. The alcohol immediately gets rid of lots of germs that your hands may be harboring.
In conclusion, washing your hands and following the guidelines outlined above will help to reduce your chances of contracting a wide range of diseases, and it may even save your life.
Dr. Sue Reddy specializes in the treatment of infectious disease among many other specialties. She understands what is required to live a healthy, active life. Please feel free to take a look around her website and if you feel she provides services you may be interested in, give Dr. Reddy a call. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.
Dr. Reddy is currently conducting clinical trials. If you think you may be interested in participating in one of our trials, please feel free to contact our office. Study related medication, procedures, and doctor’s visits are FREE for clinical trial participants, and you will also be compensated for your participation.For more information, please contact Barbara, our Research Coordinator, at 714-500-8650.