- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Hand Washing: A Universal Precaution
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.
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.
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.