The word ‘hygiene’ has been the talk of the town after the worst-hit COVID-19. We all have learnt various habits to keep ourselves safe. But still, many of us ignore the basics of hygiene, i.e. hand washing.

We have often heard that frequently washing hands with soap and water is very important. But how many of us do this? The bitter truth is - only a few of us actually follow it. 

If you also often miss washing your hands before eating, after eating or before touching your face, you should be more cautious. That’s because it can make you vulnerable to several diseases.   

As per a study, on average, we come in contact with 300 surfaces in 30 minutes, which exposes us to around 840,000 germs. And around 80% of communicable diseases are transmitted through touch. 

That’s why adopting good hand hygiene practices is a must. Though it seems like a simple act, it has a significant impact on your overall well-being.

Not only does it prevent you from catching several diseases but curves the transmission as well. So cleaning hands often with soap and water or sanitiser is a win-win situation.

But when to wash hands?

Always wash your hands properly:

  • After arriving home
  • After using the toilet
  • Before touching your face
  • Before making or eating food
  • After blowing the nose or coughing
  • After playing outdoors and with animals

But along with handwashing, one more thing needs to be kept in mind, i.e., the correct way of handwashing. A study reveals that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly. 

But what does ‘correctly’ mean here?

Well, if you follow the below-mentioned five steps of handwashing, then you are doing it rightly:

  • Wet your hands under the running water. Close the tap.
  • Apply enough soap on both your hands and wrists.
  • Rub your hands together thoroughly. Scrub all surfaces of hands, wrists, fingers, thumbs and fingernails for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands and wrists with water. Prefer running water.
  • Gently pat your hands and wrists dry with a clean towel.

Here’s how to wash hands using alcohol-based sanitiser:

  • Pour a little amount of sanitiser on your palm.
  • Rub your hands together thoroughly. Scrub all surfaces of hands, wrists, fingers, thumbs and fingernails. Do it until the hands and wrists dry. It usually takes around 20 seconds.

Apart from maintaining your own hand hygiene, teaching your children to do the same is also important. However, you may experience some difficulty with this. But fortunately, there are several ways. You can make it a fun activity to encourage your child to do it. 

Train your child to count or sing while washing their hands. Choose soaps and sanitisers that come with amazing colours and good smells. Another way is to wash your own hands in front of them so they can learn from you.

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with Dr. Sahil Kapoor


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