Every year, diarrhea kills 188,000 children under five in India and the simple act of washing one's hands correctly could significantly improve the health of those at risk.
Being in the business of promoting health and hygiene through workwear, I applaud the Global Handwashing Day initiative celebrated on the 15th of October across the world. This initiative is not just for those living in unhygienic conditions or for children who play outdoors but for all of us who forget the importance of handwashing in maintaining good health. This simple act can protect us from so many diseases that are caused due to contamination in our food and water from unclean hands.
Now while handwashing is the most efficient way to prevent diseases from spreading, it's important to do it correctly. This brings me to the mistakes we commonly make in the bathroom.
1. Not drying your hands
Wet hands provide an excellent environment for microbes to grow and spread. So remember to dry your hands thoroughly after washing them. Drying removes all left-over microbes on your hand. Also, the cotton wipe or the paper towel used needs to be dry so that it can absorb the moisture in your hands properly—otherwise it defeats the purpose.
2. Washing your hands only after using the toilet
Don't just wash your hands when you use the toilet but remember to do so several times a day especially after you sneeze or venture out of the house. The best way to bring down the possibility of getting sick due to contamination of food and water is by keeping your hands clean all the time.
3. Not removing your jewellery before washing
There could be 500 million microbes living under that beautiful ring of yours. It is a must to remove your jewellery when you're washing your hands. Give your pieces of jewellery a nice soapy boil from time to time too to keep them clean.
4. Using an air dryer to dry your hands
Next time you have to choose between an air dryer and paper towel to dry your hands, choose the latter because the bacteria on your hands are just being spread around with the air dryer. A paper towel dries your hands and removes germs far more efficiently.
5. Using a soap bar instead of liquid
While we all believe soap is soap, whichever form it may be in, research suggests that liquid soap is a safer option. A soap bar may carry microbes from the previous user so best to avoid it.
It is surprising how very few people actually understand the significance of washing hands properly. Go ahead and get those hands nice and soapy and remind everyone around you to do the same.