Importance of Handwashing in Infection Control
Handwashing—Why is it So Important?
Several infectious diseases can spread from one person to another through contaminated hands. Among these infections include salmonella infection and respiratory infections which can be deadly, especially for young children, the elderly, or those with a weakened immune system. This can be prevented from happening if you just wash your hands regularly. The simple act of washing hands with soap and water displaces the bacteria on your hands, thereby preventing the spread of infections. Washing your hands is of the best way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. If done properly, it can help prevent the spread of the germs.
When to Wash Your Hands?
You should wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after:
- Using the toilet or changing pads/tampons
- Using public conveyance
- Handling garbage or working in the garden
- Doing household chores like cleaning the bathroom
- Handling / working with animals
You must also wash your hands thoroughly:
- Before, during and after preparing food, especially after handling meat and fish
- Before eating
- Before and after attending to people who are sick
How to Wash Your Hands Properly?
- Always use running water.
- Wet your hands thoroughly.
- Apply soap and lather well for at least 20 seconds or as required if your hands are dirty
- Rub hands together—don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- Clean well under rings—germs can thrive there.
- Rinse well under running water and make sure all traces of soap and lather are removed.
- Use a paper towel to turn off the tap.
- Dry your hands using a clean dry towel.
- It is best to use disposable paper towels.
- Dry under any rings, as they can be a source of future contamination if they remain moist.
Tips to Follow While Washing Hands
For infection prevention and control, always favor running water over a basin full of standing water. This is because it could easily become contaminated through use. It is better to use warm water, as soap lathers well with warm water. However, cold water is still suitable.
Using soap is important—washing hands with soap and water will remove/displace germs substantially than washing hands with water alone. For people who are sensitive to soap—note that pH may be the problem. In such cases, it is better to use a liquid soap which has a neutral pH.
Ways to Prevent Infection
Handwashing is only on part of the equation—taking care of your skin is equally important, as your skin is your most effective barrier against infection. After washing hands, give some tender loving care by applying water-based hand cream—do it more frequently if your hands are constantly in contact with water. This is an effective strategy for infection prevention and control. Additionally, follow the tips below:
- Use gloves to wash dishes to protect your hands from germs and domestic cleaning supplies.
- Use gloves when gardening to prevent scratches—watch out for tetanus-causing germ. Tetanus is caused by a toxin made the bacterial spores, Clostridium tetani, which is majorly found in soil, dust and animal feces. When these spores enter a deep flesh wound, they grow into bacteria that can produce a powerful toxin, which leads to fatal disease.
- Consult a doctor if you develop a skin irritation—never ignore any symptoms of infection, however insignificant it may be.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if you are not within the reach of soap and water. It is the next best alternative to washing hands. Rub the sanitizer all over your hands. Concentrate under your fingernails and between your fingers.
- If you are sick, stay away from other people or stay home. Don’t shake hands or touch others.
- Make sure your health care providers clean their hands or wear gloves before examining you. Doctors, nurses, dentist, and other health care providers encounter lots of bacteria and viruses. So, before they treat you, ask them if they have cleaned their hands. It is your right. If they are performing tasks such as blood, touching wounds or body fluids and examining your mouth or private parts, they should wear gloves.
Savon Care is one of the leading liquid hand wash manufacturers in India. We are also one of the top Domestic Cleaning Supplies manufacturers. We create our products using carefully selected ingredients. Our products are azo free and go through a stringent safety and quality test and are competitively priced offering great value for money. So, what are you waiting for? Head over to our products section to have a peek at what we have to offer!