Did you know that hand washing is considered the number one preventative method that you can do that will stop the spread of communicable diseases? I’m sure we all can think of the countless public health messages that we received over the years touting the health benefits of regular proper hand washing, but did you know that there are also scientific, religious and social reasons to these messages?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated: “It is well documented that one of the most important measures for preventing the spread of pathogens is effective hand washing.” It is rightly assumed that most people should be doing a better job at washing their hands and should take a page out of the medical or even hospitality rulebook. In the medical profession they need to have clean hands, but did you know that they have a whole process with a checklist dedicated to this seemingly simple process.
If even doctors have to be reminded via checklist to wash their hands we should all be more mindful of washing our hands daily.
There are a few different techniques to the actual washing but there are also a few different ways to dry your hands, and drying as it is the last step may be the most detrimental to the hands staying clean after they get washed. Various studies have found that the most sanitary way to dry your hands after you wash them is to use disposable paper towels, followed by clean towels, and then hot air blowing dryers.
The same studies also found that air blowing dryers can actually increase the amount of bacteria that is on your hands.
I’m sure that when you think of hand washing or washing your hands there is a concept of cleansing yourself that has social and religious ties. There are numerous examples of ritual hand washing in most religions such as Baha in Hinduism, Tevilah in Judaism, Lavabo in Christianity, and Wudu in Islam. With people using their hands for all of the various daily activities that we use them for there is little reason to doubt that we need to wash our hands more often.
With all of the evidence we should all be a little bit more mindful about washing these hands that we have and use all day every day. Whenever you can be sure to wash, or at least use some antibacterial gels or foams to clean your hands; the health of yourself and your community is depending on you.