As the monsoon approaches, so do several waterborne infections. But clean hands can stave off many diseases.
Your hands are the gateway to good health all through the year. They are also among the hardest working parts of the body. You use your hands for personal hygiene, cooking, eating, working, carrying things, etc.
Apart from taking care to moisturise and protect the skin on your hands, it is also important to keep them completely germ-free. If your hands are contaminated with germs, you are bound to fall ill at some point in time, or pass an illness to somebody else.
Why your hands need to be clean always
You often don’t realise how dirty your hands are. Most of us tend to wash our hands only when they are visibly dirty, or when they feel sticky or grubby. However, the hands harbour several thousand microbes and bacteria!
Your hands touch multiple surfaces at home and outside as you go about your work. Others also touch these same surfaces – doorknobs, hand rails, elevator buttons, flush knobs, faucets, phone receivers, etc. – as you do. If any person harbours an infectious disease, their hands will pass these germs on to the surfaces they touch. When you touch the same surfaces, your hands become contaminated.
It is not possible to know if your hands are contaminated with an infectious disease or not; after all, microscopic germs are not visible to the naked eye. But why take a chance with good health? The best thing to do for maintaining good health is to wash your hands often with an antibacterial soap, or to use hand sanitiser several times a day.
Clean hands – the way to a healthy monsoon
Merely rinsing your hands is not enough – you must use a reliable antibacterial soap that kills up to 99.9% germs on the skin. Choose an antibacterial soap with a pleasant fragrance, proven germ-killing abilities and skin-friendly ingredients. Also, you must follow a series of hand washing steps to ensure that your hands are completely clean.
Surprised? Don’t be. You could be washing your hands all wrong. This is the correct sequence of hand washing steps:
- Rinse your hands under cold running water.
- Take a coin-sized amount of handwashing soap on your palm. Start rubbing both hands together to work up a lather.
- You must wash your hands for one complete minute. During this time, rub the palms together, clean the webbing of skin between your fingers, and rake your palms with your nails (this removes dead skin and dirt on the palms and cleans the nails also).
- After one minute has elapsed, rinse your hands under cold running water till all the soap has washed away.
- Dry your hands on a paper towel. Throw the paper towel in the trash can.
If you do not have access to soap and water, you can use a hand sanitiser about once every couple of hours, if not sooner, to keep your hands disease-free this season.