Handwashing is the key to a healthier lifestyle.
Getting sick can ruin your week, make you miss work, and prevent you from spending time with loved ones. While there is never a 100% fool-proof way to avoid sickness, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your chances of picking up harmful bacteria and viruses. One of the most effective ways of improving your health and staying well is washing your hands thoroughly and often.
The power of washing our hands after touching contaminated surfaces is immense. In fact, handwashing can even save lives as it prevents illness and infection and helps keep those around us safe.
There are two ways handwashing helps our health. Firstly, washing our hands physically removes up to 99% of germs that may be lurking on our skin and under our fingernails. This prevents certain germs from breaking our skin barrier. Secondly, proper handwashing protocol prevents the transfer of germs to other areas of the body, such as the nose.
Up to 20% of respiratory illnesses and infections are preventable with handwashing. Additionally, up to 50% of foodborne and gastrointestinal illnesses and infections are preventable with handwashing. Individuals and families who frequently wash their hands are healthier overall and are able to attend school and work with fewer absences.
Proper Handwashing Protocol and When To Wash Up
Achieving the impressive stats for illness prevention depends on how and when you wash your hands. You need to not only wash thoroughly and for long enough but also wash before and after high-risk activities, meaning moments when touching contaminants are much more likely.
For example, it’s crucial to wash before and after:
- Bathroom-related activities, including diaper changes
- Eating, cooking, preparing meals, and opening drinks
- Handling waste or touching garbage or recycling bins
- Returning from public spaces or a loved one’s home
- Interacting with animals and touching animal food
- Sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
- Touching your face, eyes, or nose
When your hands might be contaminated, follow these steps to ensure you remove as much bacteria as possible:
- Use clean water to wet your hands.
- Apply soap and work into a lather.
- Continue scrubbing and cleaning all areas of your hands for 20 seconds.
- Rinse with running water, thoroughly removing all suds.
- Dry off with a clean towel or air dry.
Hand sanitizer is useful for on-the-go hygiene, but opt for traditional soap and water when you can.
Continue protecting your health by booking your visit to Staley Dental today.
Another important aspect of protecting your health is seeing your dentist every six months for a checkup and cleaning. Staley Dental maintains an exceptionally hygienic environment so that you and your family can enjoy your visits without worrying about the atmosphere around you.
Book your appointment by giving us a ring or using this easy online form.