How long should you wash your hands for? 20 seconds? 30 seconds? Continue reading if you want to get answers.
In our world today, there are a lot of adverts out there seeking to drive home the message that regular hand-washing is the single most important action individuals can take in the fight against Covid-19.
How Long Should You Wash Your Hands For?
Furthermore, the latest adverts to be put out in public via print, radio, online, and billboards will reinforce the message that people should be washing their hands more often.
Washing of hands is something a lot of us do every day without really thinking about it often. But the way you wash your hands can make a huge difference to your health and the well-being of those around you.
Hence, the need for an answer to the question, “how long should you wash your hands for?”
This is because how healthy you are will significantly depend on this.
One of the most effective methods to your hands is the one most prevent cross-contamination which can cause the spread of illness and infections is washing your hands. Again, a lot of research studies have shown how improvements in hand hygiene have led to reductions in illness.
Outcomes of Research On The Importance Of Hand-Washing
Let’s take a look at research from around the world a bit even as we try to answer the “how long should you wash your hands for?” question.
The first one we’ll talk about is from the Cochrane Library. It is research from around the world on the promotion of washing hands with soap. It was discovered that such interventions led to a reduction in diarrhea episodes and respiratory illnesses such as colds by 30%. Similarly, hand hygiene interventions at elementary schools in the US helped to reduce sick days associated with acute gastrointestinal illness by 31%.
However, according to the Journal of Food Protection, recent research shows that despite the awareness of the importance of washing your hands, people fail to do it properly most of the time. From their study, adults over the age of 60 prepared food in a domestic kitchen were set up with CCTV cameras. It was discovered that only 30% of people properly washed and dried their hands before preparing food.
Again, it was also discovered that 90% of people failed to wash and dry their hands properly immediately after handling raw chicken. Also, it was found that 62% failed to rub hands, palms and between fingers when washing hands. Additionally, it was also found that 47% of people in the study failed to use soap during one or more hand washing attempts.
The Importance of Washing Your Hands
To begin with, one of the most important defense against bacteria and viruses that can be transmitted to us through the things we touch is handwashing.
Currently, in this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s even more important that you wash your hands regularly.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is the cause of the coronavirus disease called (COVID-19). According to the WHO, it can live on different surfaces for hours or even days. This is dependent on the material though.
The art of washing your hands properly has the ability to prevent you from introducing the virus to your respiratory tract by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face.
Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines are to scrub your hands for 20 seconds at least. Just in case you have trouble keeping track, try humming the entire “Happy Birthday” song twice before rinsing your hands. This is because rushing the process can result in cross-contamination and increased sickness.
According to a 2018 report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), up to 97 percent of us wash our hands the wrong way. Thus, there’s a strong need for knowing when and how long to wash your hands as this makes a difference in how often you and your family get sick, especially while this new coronavirus is active.
Again, in a workplace study, it was discovered that employees who were trained in handwashing and hand sanitation practices had 20 percent fewer sick days because of improved hygiene.
When You Should Wash Your Hands
According to the CDC, to protect yourself and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to take extra precautions. Thus, the need to answer the question “how long should you wash your hands for?”. Wash your hands in these situations:
- after you’ve been in a public place
- after you touch a surface that may have been frequently touched by others. Examples are doorknobs, tables, handles, shopping carts, etc.
- before you touch your face especially your eyes, nose, and mouth in particular.
Generally, the CDC recommends you routinely wash your hands if you find yourself any of the following situations:
- before, during, and after cooking, especially when you handle chicken, beef, pork, eggs, fish, or seafood
- after you change a child’s diaper or help them with toilet training
- after you use the bathroom
- after caring for your pet, including feeding, petting, and walking
- after you sneeze, blow your nose, or cough
- before and after you administer first aid, including treating your own cut or wound
- before and after you eat
- after you handle garbage, recycle, and take out the trash
Also, it’s wise to wash your hands and change your clothes after you get home from being out in public. Another thing you can do is to wash your hands frequently during the workday.
The average office worker’s desk is covered in more germs than a bathroom toilet seat according to the CDC.
Furthermore, you should make sure to wash up after you shake hands at a social or work function. This is because hand-to-hand contact is a common way germs spread.
The Right Way To Wash Your Hands Step by Step
The effective washing of your hands effectively is very crucial to stopping the spread of viruses and other germs. Here are steps on how you can wash your hands correctly:
- To begin, turn on the water and get your hands wet. Usually, a lot of people reach for soap as the first step, but getting your hands wet first produces a better lather for cleaning.
- Then, apply liquid, bar, or powder soap to your wet hands.
- After you have carried out step 2, lather up the soap, making sure to spread it up to your wrists, between your fingers, and on your nails and fingertips.
- Next, rub your hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well after step 4.
- Finally, dry your hands thoroughly with a clean and dry cloth hand towel.