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Why is it Important to Wash Your Hands During COVID-19?

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Bajaj Finserv Health
December 13th, 2021
5 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Hand hygiene is one of the effective lifestyle habits you should follow
  • Washing hands helps increase your immunity during pregnancy
  • Follow proper steps as recommended by WHO to keep your hands clean

Personal hygiene starts and ends with your hands. Right from our childhood, we are taught the importance of washing hands. Whether it is before eating meals or after using the washroom, it is extremely important to keep your hands neat and clean. Though handwashing is a simple step, don’t neglect it as unwashed hands can spread germs from one person to another.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized how vital hand hygiene is to protect yourself from the virus. Washing your hands properly using soap and water can save you from infections like pneumonia and diarrhea as well. Moreover, you should follow such effective lifestyle habits to increase your immunity during pregnancy as your immune system tends to become weak during these times.

In order to raise awareness on the importance of handwashing, the US observes National Handwashing Awareness Week every year from December 1 to 7. Read on to learn more about the nuances of washing hands.

Additional read: Coronavirus Reinfection: An Important Guide To How Long Your Immunity Lasts

How Should You Wash Your Hands?

Washing hands is important to prevent germs from spreading from one person to another. Scrub your hands properly so that germs get killed [1]. Start by wetting your hands properly in clean water. Apply soap and lather it for around 20 seconds. It is not necessary to use antibacterial soap. Any normal handwash can serve the purpose. When cleaning your hands, make sure that you scrub in between your fingers, beneath nails and on the backside of hands. Germs reside in these areas. Do not forget to wash your wrists as well. After this is done, wipe your hands with a clean and dry towel [2].

When Do You Need to Wash Your Hands?

It is good hygiene to wash hands frequently on a daily basis. During this pandemic, be especially aware of keeping your hand neat and clean. When you visit a public place or touch surfaces that have been used by other people, it becomes more important to wash your hands. Railings, shopping carts, and doorknobs are a few such places that are frequently touched by people. Another time when you should wash your hands is before you begin cooking or eating. In case you have pets at home, clean your hands after handling them. A few other activities when you need to wash hands include:

  • Before and after treating someone’s injury
  • Taking care of a sick person
  • Before you take your medicines
  • After you visit the washroom
  • After you change your baby’s diaper
  • After you cough or sneeze

Additional read: How to Increase Immunity in Kids: 10 Efficient Ways

National Handwashing Awareness Week

What Are the Different Handwashing Steps as Mentioned by Who?

According to WHO, here are some of the important handwashing steps you need to follow [3]:

  • Wet your hands properly with water
  • Take the required amount of soap that can cover your hands completely
  • Lather the soap by rubbing palms together
  • Keep your right palm on your left hand’s upper surface and interlock your fingers to rub properly
  • Repeat the process with your other hand
  • Take care to rub the back of your hands too
  • Keep your palms together and scrub properly
  • Place your left thumb on the right palm and continue rubbing in a circular motion
  • Do the same for your right thumb as well
  • Keep rubbing the palm of your hand using your fingers
  • Clean the soap from your hands with clean water
  • Use a dry and clean towel to dry your hands

National Handwashing Awareness Week

How is National Handwashing Awareness Week observed in the US?

During National Handwashing Awareness Week, health organizations reach out to people to make them understand proper handwashing steps. Reinforcing good hand hygiene forms the crux of this week to help prevent the spread of infection. The Global Handwashing Day is observed on October 15 in India to promote washing your hands with soap.

The World Handwashing Day 2021 theme was Our Future is at Hand—Let’s Move Forward Together. This theme highlights all the important learnings from the past on hand hygiene. The Handwashing Day 2021 theme educates people about affordable ways to prevent diseases. All you need to do wash hands properly using soap and water. Global Handwashing Day activities in school also encourage and educate children to wash hands with soap. Kids are also educated about the importance of cleanliness and good hygiene.

Now that you have understood that clean hands keep you free from germs, remember to wash your hands properly. Whether you are at home or at the office, it is important to keep yourself neat and clean. Such small steps go a long way in protecting your loved ones from various illnesses. If you are facing any symptoms, do not hesitate to contact experts on Bajaj Finserv Health. Book an appointment via an online doctor consultation and resolve your doubts. To make healthcare your priority, you can check out the health insurance plans under Aarogya Care. At nominal rates, these plans help you get affordable access to medical aid when you need it.

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