With Kemi Olatunde
It is a common thing in the hospitals to see health workers especially doctors and nurses having their hands washed at regular intervals especially after having a contact with patients. The question that comes to mind when this happens is, why is the washing of hands so important?
Hand washing, also known as hand hygiene, is the act of cleaning hands for the purpose of removing soil, dirt, and micro organisms.
Mostly, we are surrounded by people who at one point or the other might engage in sneezing and coughing among others and If bacteria through these processes lands on your hands, it can get into your body if care is not taken with the hands.
It is very good to take care of our hands by the use of soap and water and on the other hand, hand sanitizers can also be used to reduce the bacteria when there is no soap or water. The use of hand sanitizers will not give the same protection as an actual hand washing but you will end up with fewer bacteria on your hands.
The best practice is to wash the hands properly and thoroughly dry them. After that, finish off with a drop of sanitizer. In that way, your hands will be perfectly clean.
This all sounds reasonable and it seems like a no-brainer. Still, a lot of people don’t do it enough. It’s not that people don’t want to be clean. It’s mostly that they forget to wash their hands when they should. That’s why they need to be reminded, especially in the workplace where they can do the most harm.
It’s obvious that you need to wash your hands regularly, but what does that mean? Can you wash your hands too much? Well, washing your hands too much can hurt your skin, but it can be remedied with hand lotion.
There is no daily quota of hand washing that you have to hit in order to stay healthy. It all depends on your environment and what you are doing throughout the day.
You should wash your hands:
After using the toilet
Before touching or eating food
When they are dirty
After a prolonged use of objects known to harbour bacteria e.g. mobile phones, steering wheel on public use cars, visibly dirty door knobs etc
Wash your hands if you sneeze or cough into your hands
It is actually easier for children who are closely monitored to keep their hands clean with constant reminders. On the other hand, adults who are usually caught up with the daily activities have a higher tendency to overlook hand washing.
Knowing the positive impact of handwashing on your life and family generally is a good motivating factor to keep up with good hygienic habits.
Speaking with Living Healthy, Proprietress, Brain Light Montessori School, Akure, Pst.( Mrs) Omotayo Tapere said; ” One of the benefits of hand washing especially among little children is to keep their hands clean and when thus is done, it prevents a lot of diseases and illness such as infections, diarrhoea, cold and meningitis among others.
“It equally prevent their hands from getting dirty and carrying the dirt inside the house. It avoid spreading germs and diseases to others.
Also speaking, a student, Blessing Adekunle said that it is important that people embrace the act of hand washing so as to avoid falling sick and spending on drugs.
She noted that it quarantee a healthy living as some sicknesses are caused as a result of putting dirty hands in the mouth.
According to her, everyone should cease every opportunity to wash their hands saying ” there is no specific number of times to wash our hands, we should do it whenever we are chanced to do so.”
Speaking at the year 2018 Global Hand Washing Day celebration in Akure, Director Enlightenment and Enforcement, State Waste Management Authority, Rev. Mrs Ayo Adeyemo told the gathering that people must wash hands at critical times, avoid coughing and sneezing into hands, and shun putting fingers into eyes, nose, and mouth so as to prevent infections associated with the practice.
Adeyemo who explained that being able to live a healthy life is influenced by many factors, not just increased access to washing facilities, medical check-up or treatment, noted that most water and sanitation related diseases can be prevented by implementing change in hygiene behaviors which is crucial in improving basic health.
The director maintained that when hands are properly washed with soap and clean water at all times, diseases and infections such as diarrhea, cholera, respiratory infection among others will reduce drastically thereby increasing the rate of attendance and enrolment in schools, adding that adult will also be active to contribute their quota to the development of the nation.