Hand washing

Hand Washing: Our Iron Armour Against Diseases

How many times have you washed your hands today?

Hand washing with soap is an important measure to prevent disease infections such as COVID-19, diarrhoea, respiratory infections, Ebola, antimicrobial resistance among others. For example, one study in Pakistan found that handwashing with soap reduced the number of pneumonia-related infections in children under the age of five by more than 50% (WHO, 2017). The role of this practice in preventing infectious diseases cannot be overemphasized. Hands are the main pathways of germ transmission during health care and daily activities. This may occur after using toilets, handshaking, touching contaminated objects, sneezing, coughing and the likes.

Despite its efficiency in preventing wide range of infections, it is often overlooked by many individuals.
Besides, majority of people who wash their hands do so inappropriately by merely splashing water on their hands with probably a pinch of soap and are therefore exposed to infections despite regular hand washing.

A good hand washing requires adequate soap, running water and strong friction between the rubbing palms.

Fortunately, World Health Organization already formulated a recommended guideline for effective hand hygiene based on well-designed experimental, clinical or epidemiological studies. It comprises a 12-step simple procedures which can be carried out within 40-60 seconds. These procedures are as follows;

  • Wet hands with water
  • Apply enough soap to cover all the hand surfaces
  • Rub hands palm to palm
  • Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa
  • Palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  • Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlaced
  • Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
  • Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa
  • Rinse hands with water
  • Dry hands thoroughly with a single use towel
  • Use towel to turn off faucet
  • Your hands are now safe

In order to make things easier, it is important that hand washing spot is provided in schools, market places, religious centres, hospital wards, clinics and other various organisations. Hand washing should be made a routine and can be done as many times as possible.

Follow the link to watch video on hand washing on our YouTube channel.

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