I remember my mom reminding me innumerable times all through the day to wash my hand; after coming back from school or play, before going to bed, and before meals. I used to get literally frustrated at her strict hand washing routine. But nevertheless, I used to wash just to please her and sometimes just with plain water. However, now that I am a mom, I keep running behind my daughter to make her wash hands before eating and coming back from play. She asked me one day, “Mumma, why do I need to wash my hand every time? The germs are getting killed. But killing is bad!” Oh, how do I explain to her that if she doesn’t wash her hands, those germs she pities are going to make her fall sick!
Here is a little science behind why you should wash your hands. Let’s admit, most of us do not have abundant cash at our disposal to keep servants. We must do our own work, be it working in the kitchen or cleaning soiled diapers of our kids. We are handling raw meat and our baby’s poop too. Raw meat has an invisible amount of animal poop on them that is an important source of harmful germs like salmonella, E.coli O157, and norovirus that can cause diarrhea and also spread respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease.
Do you know that 1 gm of human feces contains one trillion germs? So after you clean your baby’s diaper, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Germs usually pass on from one person to another making them fall sick.
Here are some dirty secrets we’ll reveal about germs that will make you cringe:
- Germs can survive on your hands as long as three hours
- When you sneeze, you send 100,000 bacteria flying the air at 100 MPH speed
- Damp and sweaty hands can spread 1000 times more germs than dry hands
- Almost 80% of the sickness-causing germs are spread via hands
- Your phone and your keyboard has more germs than your toilet seat
- Germs can multiply at a supersonic speed. In one day, a single germ can multiply to more than 8 million germs
- Flu germs take an entire day to spread before showing symptoms
Here are 5 ways in which hand washing improves your health
1. Avoid diarrhea and other intestinal diseases
Diarrhea and intestinal illnesses are hand-transmitted diseases that can be prevented and treated effectively if you have access to clean water and washing hand is a habit. When we come in contact with fecal matter, we get bacteria on our hands that might develop chronic issues with intestinal bacteria. Washing hands properly can prevent that.
2. Fight spread of diseases
Washing hands properly fights the spread of common cold and flu, meningitis, bronchitis, influenza, and hepatitis A.
3. Create a safe work environment for medical staff and patients
Hand washing has to be taken very seriously within hospital vicinity because drugs being administered into the body and exposed internal organs are usually dealt with. Basic hand washing facilities should be accessible in a medical environment.
4. Avoid eye infections
We usually tend to touch our eyes more than usual that transfers harmful bacteria into our eyes. The best way to control an eye infection is properly washing hands. Conjunctivitis (pink eye), Keratitis, Style, Blepharitis are some common eye infection caused by germs.
5. Prevent respiratory tract infections
Contact with bacteria, virus, and fungi cause respiratory health issues with symptoms like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, nasal discharge, and nasal congestion.
Most the infections happen due to contact of eyes, mouth, and nose with dirty hands. Maintain good hand hygiene by using hand sanitizers, alcohol, based liquids, and gels.