During vulnerable times such as these, we have to pay extra attention to certain habits and how we tackle the exposure to germs. Bacteria and viruses are easily transmitted by just about everything we touch. As we touch people, surfaces and objects throughout the day, we accumulate germs on our hands. We can infect ourselves with these germs by touching our eyes, noses or mouths, and we can also spread them to others through microscopic particles that will attack our immune systems on a daily basis.
That’s why our best line of defence is to wash our hands often. Even the NHS has been sharing this advice more frequently this month. Although it’s impossible to keep our hands completely germ-free, washing our hands frequently is a must when practising Active Wellness. Handwashing can help limit the transfer of bacteria, viruses and other microbes. A quick question for you, do you wash your hands automatically or you don’t bother?
How often to wash hands?
According to the Mayo Clinic1, we should always wash our hands when they are visibly dirty and before:
- Preparing food or eating
- Treating wounds or caring for a sick person
- Inserting or removing contact lenses
Always wash our hands after:
- Preparing food
- Using the toilet, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- Touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste
- Blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- Treating wounds or caring for a sick person
- Handling garbage
- Handling pet food or pet treats
Would you believe this? The numerous times I saw women NOT washing their hands after using the toilet is shockingly high!
How to wash hands!
The recommended guidelines are to scrub your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. A 2018 report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found that up to 97 per cent of us wash our hands incorrectly.2
The Center for Disease Control cites that handwashing can prevent one in three diarrhoea-related sicknesses and one in five respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.3 Teaching children from a young age to wash hands often is key to preventing the spread of common ailments. The five easy steps are wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Remember to teach them the key to proper washing is to scrub with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. The automatic taps that run continuous water (in my opinion for little too long) is happening for a reason, so use the water to wash your hands well before and after using the soap.
Ritual when you get home
It’s wise to wash your hands and change your clothes after you get home from your commute, and to wash your hands frequently during the workday. You don’t have to work with soil or anything else produced by Mother Nature to become infested with germs. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average office worker’s desk is covered in more germs than a bathroom toilet seat!4
This is something I was taught that since childhood when growing up in central Europe.
Handy tools when soap is not available
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which don’t require water, are an acceptable alternative when soap and water aren’t available. If you use a hand sanitizer, make sure the product contains at least 60% alcohol.5
This season, decrease exposure to germs simply by thoroughly washing your hands often and with soap, and enjoy Active Wellness.
My tip on what soaps to use
Be clean does not mean you have to use products full of chemicals which actually burden your immune system (more on that in another post) and at the same time be ethical and kinder to the environment. So read the ingredients on the packing and try to avoid the following:
- Mineral Oils/Petroleum
- Unsustainable Palm Oil/Derivatives
Simply, if you cannot pronounce it you don’t want it on your skin, nor on your kids’ skin. This information is from a company that uses zero toxins. I know and have been using two such companies. If you are looking for clean products I’m happy to share contacts with people I collaborate with.
“Think Dirty” App
This app – Think Dirty will reveal on scale 1 (save) – 10 (carcinogenic, etc.) how dirty your skincare, household products and other products you are using are. I found it extremely useful and was shocked by how many children’s products are toxic. And was nicely surprised how many products are on the market that have zero toxic ingredients.
Published by Nikken
This is a 3 part series. How Washing Hands Keeps Your Immune System Strong is part 1.
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Skype: Lucie Patel Varekova
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