It’s safe to say that the world has suddenly discovered just how important it is to properly wash their hands. Important as it is, what’s equally necessary is the fact that we follow proper hand hygiene so as to maximise the effects of our hand-washing. Keeping that in mind, here are five major hand hygiene mistakes that we all need to stop doing.
1 – Not Washing Hands Regularly
There’s no need to keep a timer to remind you to wash your hands. Just remember the golden rule of washing your hands before, during and after cooking if you’re making food and before eating at all times. Too often, after preparing food it might seem easy to just sit and eat food without washing your hands again. But if you think of all the spots and plates that you’ve touched between preparing and serving food, you’d be surprised at all the places from where you can pick up germs. Even before eating, don’t make it a habit to just slap on some sanitiser and think you’re done. Washing hands thoroughly is the only way you can get rid of germs before you begin your meal.
2 – Not Washing It For The Right Duration
This is a very common mistake that needs to be addressed. According to global guidelines, you need to wash your hands for a full 20 seconds after you’ve applied soap on your hands. Don’t count those seconds from the time you pick up the soap. A much more effective way to follow this is to start singing Happy Birthday after you’ve put the soap back in the bar and started washing your hands. Skipping seconds in this process can let stubborn germs linger on and harm you.
3 – Using The Soap All Wrong
Continuing with the above point, some people love to put dry soap on their hands and then put water to create a foam. That’s clearly the wrong approach. Much better is the option of wetting your hands first and then foaming it up with soap before rinsing it off. Applying dry soap is like applying no soap at all.
4 – Touching The Tap Soon After
This is a bit tricky but you need to keep your hands sanitised as long as possible after you’ve rinsed them, especially if your hands are still wet. At home, most of us switch off the tap with the same wet hands we’ve just spent time cleaning. The germs in and around the tap and faucet find an easy way to get to you if you close them with your wet hands. Be sure to use your elbow or wipe your hands dry before you shut the tap. Doing the latter increases the chances of water wastage so we recommend you try using your elbow as much as possible or turn off the tap with a hand towel.
5 – Using The Same Hand Towel
On the subject of hand towels, be sure to have a few different pairs of hand towels that you can use for different tasks. Why? Because one study found that 49% of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size. The hand towel used to shut off the tap should not be the same used to clean your hands after cleaning vegetables and that hand towel should not be the same you use to clean your kitchen. You get the drift, right? Basically, you need to allocate different hand towels for each different task that involves wiping your hands.
That’s it. By following these simple and basic hand hygiene tips, you’ll be able to reduce bacterial growth and risk of infection to a great extent. What other hand hygiene tips are you following at home? Let us know in the comments below.
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