Wash those hands!


Wash those hands!

Why you need to and how to do it

Marshalee Valentine

Thursday, April 09, 2020

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With Jamaica's COVID-19 cases now in excess of 60, keeping our hands clean is one of the most important things we can do to avoid getting sick and spreading the virus to others. As you have seen recently, one of the main causes for the spread of germs can be related to lack of handwashing with soap and clean, running water. In this article I will outline reasons why you need to keep washing the hands and give a few pointers on how to do so effectively.

Think of all the activities you do in a day. How many surfaces do you touch? How many times do you visit the bathroom? How many doors do you open? Can you imagine if you did all these activities and did not wash your hands a single time? Now, imagine having to touch your face, cook for your family or prepare something as simple as a document for someone whom you had to touch. The virus — or any germ for that matter — can and will get onto hands once you touch any object that has germs on it; this can be from someone else touching it, coughing or sneezing on it, even being touched by some other contaminated object. When these germs get onto hands and are not washed off, they can be transferred from person to person and there is the likelihood that you will get sick. Washing your hands will prevent illnesses and spread of infections to others.

Did you know?

• Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.

• People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realising it.

• Germs from unwashed hands can get into food and drink during preparation or consumption.

• Germs can multiply in some types of food and drink, under certain conditions, and make people sick.

• Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, tabletops, or toys, and then transferred to another person's hands.

• Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively.

• Handwashing helps battle the rise in antibiotic resistance.

• Alcohol-based hand sanitisers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitisers do not eliminate all types of germs.

• Hand sanitisers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.

How do I wash my hands?

1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.

2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

3. Scrub your hands for at least 40 seconds. Use the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice as a timer.

4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.

5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them as germs can be transferred more easily to and from wet hands; therefore, hands should be dried after washing

6. If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Hand sanitisers without 60-95% alcohol 1) may not work equally well for many types of germs; and 2) merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright — 100% alcohol will more than likely dry your hands out.

7. When using hand sanitiser, apply the product to the palm of one hand; ensure you don't use too much and rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry.

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