How often do you wash your hands in a day? Before having your meal? After coming out of the toilet? Needless to say, washing our hands in these situations is programmed into our brains and it is now our reflex. However, ask yourself if you’re doing it the correct way and you might be surprised to find yourself to be paying more attention when you are washing your hands in the future by the end of this article. The problem with reflex is that it is an action so natural that you could be doing it wrong with no clue whatsoever that the contaminated hands are actually harming your health as we go on.
Only 5% wash their hands effectively
Although the fact that some people do not wash their hands before leaving the toilet might shock some of you, others might find it a norm as they are used to seeing people in their office toilets dash out without turning on the water tap. A new Michigan State University study on 3,749 Americans has found that only about 190 of them washed their hands long enough to kill infection-causing germs. Not only that, only two-thirds of them use soap and 374 of them don’t wash their hands at all. According to the Public Health Association, only 53% of the population in India wash their hands with soap after defecation while only 38% wash hands with soap before eating and another 30% do it before dealing with food preparation. All these bad habits of not washing their hands will definitely lead to a wide range of health complications.
Dirty hands lead to diarrhoea and many more
Contaminated hands can actually set off feco-oral diseases like cholera and typhoid, especially during rainy season when sanitation is poor and flies about, says Dr Anil Balani, consultant physician at Lilavati Hospital, Bandra. Other diseases associated with unclean hands are gastroenteritis, worm infestations and jaundice. To combat these, simply wash your hands with soap inside out for 10 to 15 seconds.
Infection-causing germs are found almost everywhere and especially rampant in kitchen rag, tap and even mobile phones. It is found that in a 2012 study by two London universities, one in six mobile phones and 14% of the currency handled had faecal bacteria on it. What is more of a shocker is the fact that the density of germs is so high that 11% of hands carried as many germs as a toilet bowl. These faecal bacteria with the ability to survive on hands and other surfaces for hours especially in warm and moist conditions is definitely a threat which could wreck shivering, viral fevers. Since it almost always causes wound infections in hospitals, it is a blessing that most established hospitals today have hand sanitizers for use, especially doctors.