Hand Washing to Prevent Infection

There are so many ways to prevent infection, but the most common, easiest, and simplest way is to wash our hands. However, this simple habit is sometimes forgotten by many people, putting them at risk from infectious diseases.

The danger of not washing your hands

Throughout the day, germs would accumulate on your hands from various sources like direct contact with people, contaminated surface, foods, and even animals and their waste. You can infect yourself with these germs by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Worse, you can spread these microbes to others by touching them our by touching surfaces that they also touch like doorknobs.

Proper hand-washing techniques

A good hand washing includes cleaning your hands with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer (which doesn’t require water) with at least 60% alcohol. Antimicrobial wipes or towelettes are just as effective. Avoid using antibacterial soaps, as it may lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the products’ antimicrobial agents, thus making these germs harder to kill in the future.

How to wash your hands using soap and water

If you are going to wash your hands with soap and water, you need to follow these instructions:

  • Run your hands under warm, running water. Then, apply soap and lather well.
  • Rub your hands vigorously, covering all parts and corners of your hands, for at least 15 to 20 seconds.
  • Rinse well.
  • Dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.
  • Use a towel to turn off the faucet.

How to wash your hands using alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don’t require water, are an excellent alternative to hand washing especially when soap and water are not available. These are actually more effective in killing disease-causing bacteria and viruses. However, not all hand sanitizers are created equal, as some "waterless" hand sanitizers do not contain alcohol.

Also, you need to remember that if your hands are visibly dirty (like from car grease), it is best to wash your hands with soap and water or a towelette. Here are the instruction in using this product:

  • Apply about 1/2 teaspoon of the product to your palm.
  • Rub your hands together briskly, covering all surfaces of your hands, until they are dry.