Washing your hands regularly and properly is the single most important thing you can do right now to prevent the spread of many infections and illnesses. By taking good care of your hand hygiene you can reduce the risk of things such as flu, food poisoning, and healthcare-associated infections that can easily be spread to other people.

When you need to wash your hands

Hands carry a lot of germs on a daily basis and that's why they should be regularly washed. It's not just important to wash them before and after having a meal. You should wash your hands after going to the toilet, after coughing or sneezing into your hands, whenever they are visibly dirty, after leaving a store, and so on. Regular hand washing is especially important right now in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak. Washing your hands is the simplest, yet one of the most effective ways you can prevent the virus from spreading even more.

How to wash your hands

However, it’s not only important that you wash your hands regularly. You also need to wash them properly. Make sure you wash your entire hands, including your fingertips, the palms, and your thumbs. You also need to make sure you get the dirt out from beneath your nails. These few steps will help you wash your hands properly:
Wet your hands with lukewarm water
Apply enough soap that’s going to cover your hands in entirety
Rub your palms against each other
Rub your right palm against the back of your left hand with interlaced fingers and vice versa
Rub your palms together with interlaced fingers
Wash the back of your fingers to opposing palms and keep your fingers interlocked
Rub your thumbs clasped in the opposing hands in a rotational manner
Do the rotational rubbing, backward and forwards with clasped fingers of the left hand in right palm and vice versa
Then, rinse your hands thoroughly in lukewarm water
Dry your hands with a single-use towel
Use that same towel to turn off the tap

How germs get onto hands and make people sick

Feces (poop) of both humans and animals are sources of many germs such as Salmonella, E. coli O157, and norovirus that cause diarrhea. These can spread many respiratory infections like adenovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease. These types of germs can easily end up on people's hands after using the toilet or changing a diaper as well as in some other less obvious ways such as by handling raw meat that usually has small, barely visible amounts of animal poop on their surface.
Germs can also end up stuck on our hands if we touch any objects that have germs on them because someone sneezed or coughed on them. If these germs are not immediately washed off, you are putting others at risk by potentially passing the germs on to them.

Washing hands prevents illnesses and spread of infections to others

As we have already established, handwashing with soap is important because it gets rid of the germs on the surface of your hands. This is also helpful in preventing infections due to several reasons:
Firstly, people tend to unconsciously touch their eyes, mouth, and nose all the time. That is how we let the germs enter our bodies and make us sick.
Then, these germs can easily get into the foods and drinks we consume as well. This is especially dangerous considering the fact that some germs thrive and multiply in some types of foods and drinks.
Germs can also be transferred to other objects that other people around you will be in contact with such as handrails, tabletops, or toys. That’s why it’s also essential that your home is equipped with clean sanitary bins.
Therefore, getting rid of germs only requires you to wash your hands properly and it can prevent diarrhea and many respiratory infections as well as some skin and eye infections.
For these reasons, handwashing education in the community can:
Reduce the number of people getting sick with diarrhea by 23 or even up to 40%
Reduce diarrheal illness in people who have weakened immune systems by 58%
Reduce respiratory illnesses, such as colds by 16-21%
Reduce absenteeism in schoolchildren by 29-57%

Handwashing helps battle the rise in antibiotic resistance

Lastly, the less sickness there is the fewer antibiotics people have to use. For most of the issues caused by irregular handwashing such as diarrhea and respiratory infections, antibiotics are prescribed unnecessarily. Thus, making sure your hands are clean will help prevent the overuse of antibiotics which is proven to be the most important factor leading to antibiotic resistancext around the world. Washing your hands regularly and properly will also ensure that you don’t get sick with germs that are already resistant to antibiotics. Those germs can be quite difficult to treat.


In conclusion, hand hygiene has always been important. The simple act of washing your hands regularly can save lives right now. By washing your hands properly you can prevent some serious infections as well as their spread on other people around you. So, be responsible and take good care of your hand hygiene.

Author's Bio: 

Neil is a lifestyle journalist from Sydney, Australia. Huge soccer fan. :-)