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Global Handwashing Day: Washing Hands Can Save Lives!

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, healthcare professionals are stressing on the importance of washing hands. A small act like handwashing can actually save lives. This World Handwashing Day (15th October), let us talk about why you need to clean your hands. And if you haven’t got a hand sanitizer or hand wash yet, get one now!

Germs: They are everywhere

Deadly microbes that trigger illnesses like COVID-19, flu, cholera, chickenpox, conjunctivitis, Hepatitis A and B can be living on the skin of your hands. How? Because they reach your hands when you touch common objects like currency coins/ notes, public transport handrails, toilet flush, washroom door knob, lift knobs, office utilities, etc. They can survive on your hands for hours. And if you eat with unwashed hands, touch your nose or eyes with them, then you are sure to catch COVID-19 or any of the other contact transmission diseases.  

Global Handwashing Day: Washing Hands Can Save Lives! - PharmEasy

Handwashing – your weapon against germs

According to scientists, approximately 1 million deaths a year can be avoided if people routinely wash their hands. So, wash hands every time you touch something outside your home.    

So, how does handwashing work?  

1. Water and soap/liquid hand wash  

Liquid hand wash contains skin-friendly ingredients that are lethal for germs. These chemicals can destroy any surface-dwelling bacteria, viruses, or fungi. When you hold your hands under running water, any microbes left are washed away, leaving your hands clean and pathogen-free.

2. Sanitizer

Propanol and isopropanol with which alcohol-based hand sanitizers are made can kill cells (only microbes, not your skin cells). Alcohol destroys the protein structure of the virus, bacterium or fungus as soon as they come in contact. So if you are travelling, carry an alcohol hand sanitizer with you.  

Clean hands save lives
Hand care can reduce the mortality rate of respiratory diseases by 25% and diarrheal diseases can be reduced by 50%, according to a study done by the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. This can simply be done by washing your hands with soap!

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

The correct handwashing technique

Handwashing can only be effective if done the right way. If you are using water and handwash-

  • Wet your hands
  • Take a coin-sized dollop of handwash
  • Rub to create froth
  • Interlink your fingers and rub to get the soap to the spaces between your fingers
  • Now lather the back of your hands up to the wrists
  • Pay attention to the base of the thumbs which are often overlooked during handwashing
  • Make sure you wash the underside of your nails where dirt and germs accumulate
  • Wash thoroughly with flowing water
SUBHEADING

Scrub your hands with hand wash and water for at least 20 seconds.  

1. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry are five steps important to follow during handwashing. 2. Not just the palm, even the back of the hands and the wrists are equally important to wash as a regular practice.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D

If you are using alcohol-based hand sanitizer-

  • Squirt out about 3 ml of the hand sanitizer
  • Just like regular hand wash, rub the alcohol-based sanitizer between your palms as well as the back of the hands
  • Pay special attention to the skin between your fingers

Use hand sanitizers as many times as possible when you do not have access to running water.  

Hand wash vs hand sanitizer: which one should you opt for?

In terms of destroying germs, both handwash and alcohol-based hand sanitizers are equally effective. If you are at home or in the office, use liquid handwash and water as this method can also remove dirt, which hand sanitizers can’t. Always use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.  

Handwashing is a simple and cost-effective way to keep your loved ones and yourself safe. Prevention is better than cure. So, make a habit of using liquid handwash and hand sanitizers right away.

Also Read: Tingling in Hands: Exploring Causes and Potential Remedies

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

Links and product recommendations in the information provided here are advertisements of third-party products available on the website. PharmEasy does not make any representation on the accuracy or suitability of such products/services. Advertisements do not influence the editorial decisions or content. The information in this blog is subject to change without notice. The authors and administrators reserve the right to modify, add, or remove content without notification. It is your responsibility to review this disclaimer regularly for any changes.

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