Every day, thousands of people worldwide suffer from healthcare-acquired infections. Hands are the most important routes of germ transfer in healthcare. Correct Handwashing Technique is thus the most effective measure to discourage and prevent the spread of infectious germs.
You’ve had to wash your hands all of your life, from birth to adulthood, but in recent years, it appears like hand hygiene is emerging as quickly as diseases that it is striving to avoid. Keeping hands washed is one of the main steps to prevent sickness and germs from spreading to other people.
Many conditions and diseases are transmitted by not washing hands with soap. To avoid illness and germs from spreading to others, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) trusted source advises washing hands in particular. Based on various studies, guidelines for effective handwashing and hand sanitizer use were developed by different health organizations.
What is the Correct Handwashing Technique?
Handwashing (or handwashing), also known as hand hygiene, is the act of cleaning one’s hands with soap and water to remove viruses, bacteria, microorganisms, dirt, grease, or other harmful and unwanted substances stuck to the hands. Drying of the washed hands is part of the process as wet and moist hands are more easily decontaminated. (Source – Wikipedia)
Why is Handwashing So Important?
The value of washing hands cannot be understated. Hands can carry dust, viruses and bacteria because they can be contacted all day long by many surfaces. This unawareness could potentially lead to something infectious coming into the bloodstream, spreading everywhere, or inducing cross-contamination without correct handwashing technique.
Hospitality staff, for instance, can handle food with dangerous bacteria, and they can spread to their customers’ food without proper hand hygiene. Health care workers can work with people with viruses and pathogens, and they can unwittingly pass them over to other patients if they do not practice the appropriate handwashing process.
When Should You Wash Your Hands?
You will collect germs on your hands when you touch different things all day long. You may get infected with these germs by scratching or spreading the eyes, nose, and mouth. While your hands may not remain germ-free, often washing your hands can help reduce the transfer of bacteria, viruses, and other microbes.
On the other hand, it’s necessary to wash your hands frequently to shield you from infectious diseases such as the Coronavirus. It is a fungal dish with germs. To defend yourself against the Coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control says to wipe, blow your nose, sneeze, or cough after going to the toilet.
The CDC (Trusted Source) recommends taking extra precautions and washing your hands in these situations:
- After touching a surface where others might also have touched (doorknobs, tables, handles, shopping carts)
- Before you touch your face (eyes, nose, and mouth in particular)
- After being in a public place
- Before, during and after preparation of food, in particular for the use of chicken, beef, pork, fish or seafood
- After helping a baby with toilet training and changing the child’s diaper
- After using bathroom
- After caring for, walking and petting your pet
- After blowing your nose, crying, sneezing
- Before and after first aid administration, including your cut or wound treatment
- Before and after eating food
- After cleaning up, recycling and removal of litter
It’s a good idea to wash your hands and change your clothing after you get home from outside and wash your hands.
According to the CDC, the typical office worker’s desk is coated with more germs than a bathroom toilet seat. You should also make sure that you wash your hands after having shaken hands in a social or workplace since interaction with each other is a common means of spreading germs.
Why Wash Your Hands for Twenty Seconds?
It’s healthy that you wash your hands twice. Twenty seconds is the least amount of time it takes to kill germs. It could turn out terribly if you don’t wash long enough, even with soap. You will still not be able to get rid of all the disease-causing germs that remain on you.
On the other hand, washing for too long can also be dangerous, mainly if you use harsh soap. It will result in dry, cracked or even bleeding skin. This interrupts the skin’s protective barrier `and enables germs to penetrate the body.
Why Wash Your Hands in Cold and Clean Water?
A widespread misunderstanding is that the only way to purify your hands is with hot water. Many think that warmer water is safer, but there is still no clear proof that the temperature of water counts to eliminate germs. The use of hot water will dry your hands and cause skin injury, so cool water is recommended.
When it comes to the correct handwashing technique, you rub your hands vigorously together and cover all surfaces: the back of your hands, wrists, and toes, with grime trapped beneath.
Moreover, if you clean the proper surfaces, it should be easy to reach the 20-second mark.
What are the 7 Steps of Handwashing
These seven handwashing measures are efficient and easy for a thorough cleaning, as the National Health Service (NHS) recommends.
Step 1: Wet Hands
Wet your hands to make a nice lather by applying sufficiently liquid soap. The water temperature can range from 35℃ to 45℃
Step 2: Rub Palms Together
Rub in circular movements of your hands with palms. Turn in the direction of the clock and counterclockwise.
Step 3: Rub the Back of Hands
Using your right palm to rub the back of your left hand with your fingers intertwined.
Step 4: Rub Between Your Fingers
Link your fingers in clamped palms, face to face. Then rub your hands and your fingertips.
Step 5: Cup Your Fingers
Couple your fingers, your right hand and your left hand below. Rub them back against your palms with your thumbs clenched together.
Step 6: Clean the Thumbs
Put your left thumb in your right hand and rub it when you turn it.
Step 7: Rub Palms with Your Fingers
Rub your fingertips in a circular movement over your left palm.
If you perform these wash measures, you can rinse with a clean, disposable paper towel thoroughly and dry with warm running water. The most hygienic way to dry your hands is by towels, but an automated hand dryer can also be used.
If you do, ensure that you do not touch with your clean hands every aspect of the hand dryer, so you risk adding bacteria back to them. You can also never dry your hand with a reuse towel because they can harbour harmful bacterial levels, which transfer back into your hands.
Science Behind the Correct Handwashing Technique
In order to prevent being diseased and transferring germs to others, CDC advises washing hands specifically. Based on evidence from a variety of trials, guidelines for correct handwashing and hand sanitizing were drawn up.
Firstly, why wet your hands with smooth flowing (hot or cold) water?
Sterile flowing water should be used to wash hands. If possible, it can also boost health when washing with non-potable water. However, warmer water may cause more discomfort to the skin and is more expensive. The waters do not seem to be affecting bacteria.
Shifting off the faucet after wetting hands saves water, and there is no evidence to show whether a large amount of germs is passed from hand to faucet.
It’s more effective to use soap to wash hands than just water because soap surfactants raise soil and skin bacteria.
Secondly, why lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap?
Lathering and scrubbing hands produce friction that lifts dirt, graft, and skin microbes. Microbes have a high concentration on all hand surfaces, especially under the nails. Thereby cleaning the whole hand is necessary. So be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
Thirdly, why scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds?
Determining the best washing time is challenging because few trials have been carried out on the health effects of modifying washing hours. Almost all of those that remain have measured total reductions in microbes which can only a small proportion cause disease and do not quantify their health effects.
It is not related to improved health but to lower the number of microbes on the paws. Several variables will affect the optimum washing period, including the form and amount of soil in your hands and the laying of your hands. Surgeons may contact disease-causing germs, for example, and risk transmitting dangerous diseases to susceptible patients, so that they may need to wash their hands longer than someone cooking a home meal.
However, research shows that, for around 15-30 seconds, washing hands extracts more germs from hands than passing for a shorter period.
Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
Fourthly, why rinse your hands well under clean, running water?
Soap and friction help lift dirt, grease, and bacteria from the skin, like disease-induced germs, so that they can be rinsed away from their fingertips. Even, removal of soap reduces the soreness of the scalp. Because hands may be recontaminated, sterile running water can be used if rinsed in a residual water basin that has been polluted by prior use. Waiting to use a paper towel to turn off the roughage after rinsing the hands leads to greater use of water and paper towels, and tests suggest that this increases health.
Lastly, why dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them?
Germs can be more quickly passed to and from saturated hands, so the hands should be dried after washing. However, since there are few reports on hand drying and conflicting studies, the safest way to dry hands remains uncertain.
Furthermore, several of these experiments compare the available concentrations in various hand-drying methods of microbes and not just germs that cause diseases. The removal of microbes from hands has not been proven to be related to improved health. Studies say, though, that the easiest way is to dry a clean towel or the air.
You should wash your hands with water and soap if they look dirty. Sanitiser on visually dirty hands is less effective. Hand sanitisers are also handier outside your house but can be costly or hard to reach in an emergency. If you want to learn more about health and hygiene, you can take a professional course. A course like Food Hygiene and Safety Course Level 2 can help you have a better understanding of health and hygiene.