Apr 30, 2020

Importance of hand hygiene when out of home

Bacteria is everywhere even inside our bodies too. Some of the bacteria’s are even good that helps us to fight against diseases. They are also necessary for the proper functioning of our immune system. One of the best habits to get rid of the bad bacteria causing several diseases is proper hand washing or the use of hand sanitizers. Hand washing is considered to be the most effective way for removing germs and harmful bacteria present on our hands.

There are many ways to get rid of bacteria and viruses from our hands. At home we usually don't come in contact with germs rapidly as compared to when we are out of our home. There are many methods to keep our hands clean when out of home. The most common of which used in work places, schools, universities, restaurants and various other places is the use of soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer when water is not easily accessible. Hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer both is important to keep ourselves healthy and safe.

It is important to wash or sanitize our hands through hand sanitizer depending upon the situation in the below mentioned circumstances:

1. Before and after preparation of the food.

2. Before and after eating the food.

3. After using lavatory or bathroom.

4. Before and after meeting a sick person.

5. After handling pets.

6. After touching any surface that is not cleaned.

7. After working in garden or carrying garbage bins.

One point here to understand is that these are just some of the various times and situations when one is advised to clean his hands. As per various research studies, on an average an individual who disinfects his hands 5 to 6 times a day is less likely to fall sick when compared with others who do not do this.

Why it is so important?

Habits are something which in general are learnt, developed and internalized by us at the infancy stages of our life. But as unruly as every child is, we tend to not listen to our parent’s advice about healthy living practices and our sense of hygiene, too, is no exception. Poor understanding about the subject matter of hand hygiene has far too many repercussions than we can actually think of. This may be because of lack of awareness about the myriad ways with which our hands serve as carrier of germs and diseases that make us fall sick.

Even if you now begin to think of places where germs hide, you will end up missing a lot of places. Germs are everywhere starting from our keyboard keys, to elevator buttons, remote control, refrigerator handle, ATM, water coolers, mobile phones and the list goes on and on. Healthcare experts say that by inculcating in us the most basic habit of hand hygiene, we can prevent ourselves from a number of infectious diseases which are spread through these bacteria and viruses. To elaborate more on the importance of hand hygiene, below we have mentioned some of the points:

>> Harmful bacteria on hand can make you sick:

Bacteria and germs on hand usually gets access to our body, thanks to our annoying habit of unnecessarily touching our mouth, eyes and nose. On each square centimetre of your skin, there are about 1500 bacteria. Often it is seen that when we are out of our home we are more exposed to germs. It thus makes sense to nip things at the bud by ensuring to keep an alcohol based hand sanitizer with us every time we step out of our home.

>> Helps to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria:

Proper washing of the hands eliminates the dirt and germs that can be spread to one another by a mere handshake. Individuals especially kids, often do not realize but they frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth with their dirty hands which give the germs access to their body and makes them ill. Simply washing your hands can help prevent the spread of bacteria such as MRSA, Clostridium difficile, E. coli and Salmonella.

>> You can’t see germs but they are everywhere:

Germs like bacteria and viruses are microscopic and are not visible with the naked eyes. But just because we cannot see them doesn’t mean they are not there. You may not be aware but germs commonly reside on everyday objects such as cellphones, office desk, toothbrush, etc and they can be transferred to your hands simply when you touch them.

>> Helps to save you from a hospital stay:

Washing your hands often, keeps you healthy and the healthier you are the less likely you have to spend on expensive medical treatments. Hand hygiene practices such as using soap and water or a hand sanitizer are way too inexpensive means of preserving your health than a stay at the hospital.

>> Proper hand hygiene keeps you healthy:

Properly washing and drying your hands or even disinfecting your hands using a hand sanitizer can reduce your risk of getting sick with diarrhea and getting a respiratory illness. Various facts and figures claim that, a simple habit of hand hygiene can:

  • Reduce the no. of people who fall sick from diarrhea by 23 to 40 percent.
  • Reduce diarrheal illness in people having weak immune system by 58 percent.
  • Reduce common diseases like cough and cold among masses by 16 to 21 percent.
  • Reduce the rate of absenteeism in school going children due to gastrointestinal illness by 29 to 57 percent.

Wrapping it up

As the coronavirus disease continues to spread all over the world, many healthcare agencies are advising people to be extra careful about keeping their hands clean. Healthcare experts agree that hand washing is one of the most effective methods to stop the prevention of infectious diseases such as coronavirus. However, in times and situations when soap and water is not easily available, use of alcohol based hand sanitizer is advisable especially when you are out of home.