Washing your hands frequently is the most effective way to avoid spreading illness and getting sick. When you touch objects, surfaces or make physical contact with other people, you become more susceptible to germs and bacteria. Once infected, there is a risk of easily spreading bacteria and germs by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes which can then be spread to other people around you.
While it’s almost impossible to always keep your hands bacteria and germ-free, there are clear steps you can take as an individual to limit the transfer of viruses, bacteria, and other microbes. By washing your hands often, you can protect yourself and loved ones especially during a coronavirus outbreak. Here are some simple hand hygiene tips you can follow to break the viral chain:
Every time you visit a hospital or medical centre wash your hands prior to entering the room to avoid the introduction of a new illness to the patient you are visiting. Similarly, wash your hands on your way out so that you don’t bring any new illness home. Health centres provide hand sanitizer stations for this purpose. It is absolutely vital to use them on entry and exit.
The minimum amount of time it should take you to wash your hands properly is twenty seconds. Make a habit of spending more time rubbing and soaping up your hands before you rinse that lather away. You can even sing some of your favourite songs to pass the time! You Tube has a selection of hand washing 20 second video clips that have emerged since coronavirus started. Choose your song and make sure you apply the 20 second rule. Encourage kids to keep to this important routine by singing along with them to their favourite song.
The Right Hand Wash
When it comes to killing germs, hand-washing soaps have become an absolute necessity with shops selling out of popular soap and handwashing products. However, along with having antibacterial properties, there are lots of liquid soap products that incorporate natural ingredients and aromas to keep chemical nasties at bay. Sasy n Savy has a selection of natural aromas including Lime and Lemongrass, Fig and Cedarwood, or Peppermint and Rosemary to choose from. You can also order cost-effective bulk sizes including 1 litre, 5 litre and 20 litre sizes so you don’t run out.
While drying your hands remember to use either a hot air dryer or a disposable paper towel. Shared napkins or towels should be avoided especially in public places. Encourage household members to use separate towels especially when they are sick and ensure children remember to wash their hands regularly. Replace your towels frequently and incorporate hand sanitizer as well as fabric sanitizers into your laundry routine.
Hot Water Isn’t Always Better
Extremely hot water can adversely affect skin tolerance. It is more important to be able to tolerate the right temperature for your skin and to apply soap and lather your hand and in between your fingers and thumbs to break down viral lipids especially in the case of Coronavirus.
Don’t Neglect Your Thumbs
Most people neglect their thumbs while cleaning their hands. It is important to rub soap all over your hands to make sure that you get rid of all possible germs.
Care for Your Hands
Washing your hands frequently is only one small part of hand hygiene. It is also important to look after your skin, as it is your most effective barrier against viruses and infections. Once you have washed your hands and dried them thoroughly, do the following:
- Apply a hydrating hand cream to your hands at least twice a day. This will prevent chaffing and skin irritations. Washing your hands often can be damaging for your skin.
- Provide your hands protection by wearing gloves when you wash dishes to avoid over exposure to water.
- If you notice any skin irritation, check the ingredients in your soap or hand wash to identify which ingredients are causing a reaction.
If you’re out and about, use a hand sanitizer
What if you can’t wash your hands because you’re on the road or don’t have access to a bathroom? Carrying a hand sanitizer in your handbag or car is a good way to keep your hands’ germ free when you don’t have access to a bathroom or handwashing facilities.
The opinions presented in this article are expressed by our writing team and staff only. While it is impossible to avoid complete contact with sick people, especially if you live with them, following the aforementioned hand hygiene tips is your best line of defence against carrying or picking up infectious germs and spreading them!