Washing your hands and keeping them clean is just good hygiene. And one would think that it’s common sense to wash your hands, especially after visiting the toilet. Unfortunately, I’m sure we’ve all witnessed at some point, people who leave the toilet cubicle, rinse their hands quickly, and leave the washroom. No soap. No scrubbing. Just plain disgusting.
Why is washing your hands important? First of all, just think of what you do with your hands and what they come into contact with. Did you know that handwashing is the single most important means of preventing the spread of infections?
There are many ways that germs are spread and surprise surprise, the hands play a role; or more specifically, unwashed hands. Here are some ways that germs are spread.
If you don’t wash your hands after using the loo, and then you handle food after, you’re likely to transfer the nasty toilet germs to your food. And even if you just popped into the washroom to check out your reflection in the mirror, chances are you would have touched something in the bathroom, at the very least the door handle which is something that everyone touches so imagine the germs on that thing. Wash your hands after visiting the washroom (and try not to touch anything else in there after you do), and each time before you prepare food for yourself or others.
Cold & Flu
Think of how many times a day you touch your face. This means that if you had come into contact with any germs, you are now transferring it to your eyes, nose and mouth. And it also works the other way if you’re not well; you’d be transferring germs to others. Think of the germs when one coughs or sneezes, and these are usually transferred to the hands as we cover our mouth and nose. The cold and flu are easily spread this way so just washing your hands can keep them at bay.
When we cook, we usually handle raw produce. This is fine if the produce is cooked. However, when you’re also serving up raw dishes such as salads, there’s the risk of cross contamination if you don’t wash your hands properly. Say you’re cooking chicken so you touch the raw chicken with your hands, then you also use your hands to prepare your salad. The chicken will be fine as the germs are killed in the cooking process. The salad however is not cooked thus the germs are still there. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before handling each dish.
Children are very susceptible to getting ill as their immune systems are not as strong as those of adults. If you have kids or are around them a lot, make sure your hands are clean. It can be as innocent as having a child with the flu at home, not washing your hands, and then coming into contact with another child for them to catch the flu too. So wash your hands!
Pets are sometimes regarded as part of the family (as they should be!), but that doesn’t mean that they’re super clean. Make sure you wash your hands after playing with your pets, and wash and clean the surfaces that they come into contact with regularly.