Washing your hands is important. It is a lesson in cleanliness that you were likely to have been taught at school as well as at home. But while you might religiously wash your hands and use hand sanitizer, you can never be sure that those around you are doing the same. Hand washing has been proven to prevent the spread of disease and illness. Keeping your hands clean is one of the best possible ways to keep yourself healthy. But washing your hands has another great benefit which is that it also keeps other people safe from any illness you might have, especially since germs and bacteria can be so easily transferred from the hands to wherever the hands might touch.
Washing your hands regularly with anitbacterial soap has the following health benefits:
· It helps greatly in preventing the spread of the flu virus
· It helps prevent the spread of diarrhoea
· It can help to stop the spread of respiratory infections
· Clean hands in home births can prevent the deaths of new born babies
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important behavioural changes and with hand sanitizer’s being so readily available these days there is really no excuse to not be keeping clean.
A few of the diseases spread by dirty hands
Everywhere you touch, you are probably picking up a few germs. Those bathroom tap handles? Yip there are germs on them. That bottle of coffee you picked up off the shelf, because it was on discount? Someone else touched that before you are left a few germs behind. Germs are unavoidable, even those that aren’t going to cause you great harm.
You might be wondering why those germs are so harmful if they are just on your hands. They are so dangerous because they can move so swiftly from your hands to your nose, your mouth or your eyes and from there they are given an easy passage into your body.
Think of this scenario for a moment:
You pick up that bottle of coffee from the shelf. You take it to the till, and pay for it, along with a sandwich, and head out the door. The bottle had a germ on it that causes gastro and now you have eaten your sandwich with your hand which is hosting the germ and you have ingested it.
Sounds gross? Well it is but what is scarier is that is just how most bugs are spread among the population. Now if you had hand sanitizer on you, or if you had been able to wash your hands before you ate, you could have wiped those germs away with Hand Wipes and avoided catching a bug.
Here are a few of the germs spread by not washing your hands:
This is the germ that is responsible for causing gastrointestinal infections and the common symptoms of an infection include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Brace yourself for the most disgusting part about this virus. The only way that it can enter into your system is through the faecal oral route, which means that faecal matter is on your hand, knife or fork, food, or anything else that you are consuming. It is easy to avoid infection if you regularly wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer when you are living or working in close proximity to other people. Using hand sanitizer and stay clean while there is an outbreak chances of getting sick are very slim.
This virus is often spread when people are not washing their hands after using the bathroom. This virus alone is a very important reason to wash your hands, or use a hand sanitizer, after going to the bathroom.
· Nosocomial infections
In the hospital setting, clean hands is of the utmost importance. In hospitals patients are particularly at risk of infection and since many of those in hospital are battling infections, it is crucial for those working in hospitals to keep their hands clean. Hospital staff need to use hand sanitizers each time they move from one patient to the next. The moment they slip up on cleaning their hands, they put patients and themselves at risk. It is exceptionally difficult to keep every part of a hospital clean.
· Airborne sicknesses
Winter is around the corner and soon people are going to be coughing and spluttering. Droplets from a sick person can travel around 91 meters! Once it is airborne there is no telling where the droplets will land. Coughing onto the hands and then touching objects can also spread the various airborne viruses so it is important to wash hands, if you are sick or if you are around sick people.
So what is the scary truth about bathroom handles?
In a 2013 study done in the US statistics showed that around 95% of people in the US are not washing their hands properly. A similar study done in the UK in 2015 showed that around 39% of women and 63% of men do not wash their hands after using a public restroom.
And after they go to the bathroom, they are touching bathroom door handles and by doing so they are transferring germs. Then an unsuspecting person uses the bathroom and after washing their hands they open the door to leave and the germs on the door handle finds a new home on their hands. So having a hand sanitizer available after you touch that bathroom door might just stop the bacteria from getting in. Public toilets and the toilets at your work are two places where the bathroom door handle might just be harbouring a few fugitives.
Trying to keep clear of germs in the modern world is almost impossible. Germs and bacteria are simply a way of life and there is never a guarantee that those around you are keeping their hands as clean as you are keeping yours. The safest way to stay healthy is to wash your hands regularly with soap and to use a hand sanitizer whenever water and soap are not around.