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Hand Washing: A Universal Precaution

Updated on January 16, 2016

 In this day and age of increased upper respiratory and bacterial infections; a simple procedure can help to keep many infections from spreading and sending us to the doctor.  That procedure is known as handwashing. 

By: AmRedCross

As many infections are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics and other prescription drugs and medicines, handwashing should be a procedure done more frequently during your day. It should be done not only before and after food consumption, or after a visit to the toilet. Making a decision a few times throughout the day for the sole purpose of washing ones hands is a wise decision.

*AFTER SHOPPING: Whether for food, clothing or other commercial goods: Many customers are sampling clothing in the malls and moving items on the racks. How many have been there before you? And have you noticed how in the grocers, shoppers put items in their carts and then sometimes put them back. Or they may touch more than one item to retrieve the one they want. Shoppers often move many packaged meats around as well while looking for the best choice cuts of meat or for the best priced for their budget. So once you are home, it's a good idea to wash your hands even before putting your groceries away. Especially if you buy family packs of meat which you have to separate into smaller portions to store in your freezer.

*COMPUTER USE: After using your computer, as other family members or friends may use even your at home computer before or after you strike the keypad. Also, even if you are the sole user of your keypad; many times we may wipe our noses, or wipe sweat and keep typing. This is especially true when using a computer in a public place such as a library, where many hands/fingers tap the keypad. Carrying your own hand sanitizer is an excellent idea. It may also be used to wipe down the keys with a little sanitizer on a kleenex before your use of it. This can also be applied to phone landline usage as well. And if you let other people use your cell phone.

*IN THE WORKPLACE: Using your breaktime is a good time to take a few seconds to wash your hands.

CHILDREN, SCHOOL, WORK, HOME and PLAY: It is imperitive to constantly remind children to wash their hands during the day. They are more apt to wipe their runny noses with their hands or even put their fingers up their noses and continue playing. Most schools now have hand sanitizers in the classroom and teachers enforce the use of it so many times per day.


By: CDCStreamingHealth

Although we have been washing our hands for years, the following are good steps to follow concerning handwashing:

*Use warm water: Soap will lather better with warm water usage. Cold water limits lathering and hot water can be damaging to your skin.

*Type of Soap: Regular soap is just fine. It is not necessary to use solely anti-bacterial soaps. It has been found that constant usage of anti-bacterial soaps can cause the skins natural disease fighting bacteria (flora: bacteria which inhabits parts of the body, it is not harmful) to breakdown, making us more susceptible to transmittable germs. The importance is to lather well, including the wrists, fingers, thumbs and in between each as well as the upside/underside of the fingernails.

*Rinse Thoroughly: Be certain to rinse away the presence of all suds. Pat (do not rub) the hands dry. It is also helpful to use separate paper towels or such to turn the water on/off before and after handwashing as well as to open the door to exit. The paper towel used to open the door can be thrown away after leaving the washroom.

Note: Follow-up hand washing with a good moisturizer to help prevent the breakdown of the skin.


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    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      puppaa: Thanks for visiting and commenting - and I agree, with bacteria and germs running rampant nowadays, this simple procedure is a life saver. Have a great day!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      very interesting comments on universal handwashing,a simple procedures save life....Hand sanitizer is not a bad idea especially if hot water is not available in public places...cold water with soap is fine if technique is performed properly...paper towel is vital for everyone to use particullary in public places..simply because to avoid cross might occur if towel is used

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      vocalcoach: Thanks so much for your comments. Handwashing is so important. And I agree, rarely is there hot water in public places. May be a good idea to follow-up handwashing in such cases with hand sanitizer. Hope you have a peaceful day!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      10 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Excellent article which should be posted in every home, school, library, doctors office, grocery store, bank, restroom, all public facilities, in the car...everywhere! The thing that really irritates me is the lack of hot water in public places, especially rest rooms. Rarely is the water hot. Rated up on your very good hub - and rating up on you! Vocalcoach

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you for reading and commenting katiem2. Been away from internet for a while and making my way back to it. I am only aware that friction without the soap loosens and removes dead skin and loose dirt, but helps the germs/bacteria to cling to the skin. But, it helps in a pinch; however, asap soap/water/friction.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      10 years ago from Ohio

      Oh my school is now in full force and the viruses are spreading. I make sure my kids wash their than hands everyday after school. My youngest touches everything and runs her hands along railings and walls as she moves about shopping malls, schools and the like. I remind them all the time to wash their hands every chance they get.

      Even though soap dispensers are often EMPTY they should still use water and briskly rub their hands together with water, the friction kills germs, so when without soap, still WASH hands!

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      arav: Thanks for visiting/commenting. Not really understanding your comment though. Peace.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i think so that if sharing soap in the family one ahould wash the hand twice with the same soap then it is safe and most important is that you will not transmit or take any infection with that soap.

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you Eileen for our comments. Money is great, we just don't think about the hands on the money. Have a great day.

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 

      10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      I'd ;love a coffee tooooo! Yes very good points that you have raised. Handling money is a very important part of transferring germs.

      I have only recently been told where some people keep theirs and ouch, not nice you just dont know what germs people are carrying and after handling money we go and have morning tea and cake....and...well. you have written a great important article thanks for sharing.

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      Lady_E, thanks for reading/commenting. Hope you enjoyed your coffee and biscuits! Now, I'm hungry! Have a good one!!

    • Lady_E profile image


      10 years ago from London, UK

      Hi SupportMed - Just dropped by with my Virtual Coffee and Biscuits to say hi. lol.

      Great Hub - I am so particular about washing hands because during the cause of the day we touch so many things that have germs not visible to the eye. I always have a sanitiser in my handbag too.

      I like the point you raised on the shopping issue: I use anti bacterial wipes to wipe a lot of food shopping before putting them away, as I've noticed how they are handled in store.

      This is a very healthy Hub. Thanks. :)

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      crazybeanrider: Thanks for your visit and your comments. Interesting name there. Is there a reason for it?

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      hypnodude, I'll have to write that doctor's name down so I can look him up. His name looks interesting! Thanks for the read and comment.

    • hypnodude profile image


      10 years ago from Italy

      Sometimes, when people around me talks about the infallibility and infinite knowledge of Science and Medicine I talk about Ignaz Semmelweis, the genius doctor who discovered that Puerperal Fever was due to the fact that doctors at that time, 1800 something, didn't wash their hands while "curing" different patients. Obviously he was considered a kind of moron, until after his death his "colleagues" found out that he was definitely right.

      Very good hub with true and correct advices.:) Rated up.

    • Support Med. profile imageAUTHOR

      Support Med. 

      10 years ago from Michigan

      Pamela99: Thanks for your read and support. Coming from a nurse, this means a lot to me. I understand about the sterile dressing changes as opposed to the clean dressing changes, learned from my MA training. It's a point well taken.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Being a nurse, I wash my hands a lot as it was drilled in my head. Actually I think they should be doing sterile dressing changes still instead of clean dressing changes but that is another story. We didn't have so much hospital infection years ago. I digress, sorry. This is a great hub and so important. You covered everything very well.

    • crazybeanrider profile image

      Boo McCourt 

      10 years ago from Washington MI

      Excellent hub. I am a bit overboard on this but I really encourage washing your hands. Your hub is very detailed and well written. I am glad you mentioned washing after shopping. That has to be one of the worst. I carry my little bottle of hand sanitizer and wipes with me. But I am ocd, so that's me. Great article.


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