If done correctly, hand washing is one of the best ways to help reduce the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of infections. Many diseases and conditions are spreading from person to person by not washing hands at all or not properly with soap and clean, running water:
- Germs can enter the body when a person frequently touches their eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands – without even realising it.
- Germs from unwashed hands can transfer onto food and drinks whilst preparing or consuming them, potentially causing illnesses with that particular person.
- Unwashed hands can transfer germs onto other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and from there they are being transferred to another person’s hands.
Effective hand hygiene is important as it removes microbes, such as bacteria and viruses from your hands. The fewer microbes are on your hands, the fewer the chances of becoming sick and passing on those germs to others around you.
In 1847, Ignaz Semmelweis first realised the correlation between the spread of infection and unwashed hands, initially using a chlorinated lime solution to combat this. As science has moved on, the optimum hand washing strategy has been created. Save and print our below infographic to remind yourself how to wash hands properly.
You should wash your hands for at least 15-30 seconds – or enough time for you to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song!