Does your child wash his hands as often as he should? Prevention is better than cure, and if the precaution is so basic, you should make sure it's well ingrained in your kids, so frequent hand washing becomes a habit that lasts a lifetime.
Five-year-old Aryaman was perpetually down with a cold. His mother, Gita, blamed it on the pollution, the school children and his preference for ice creams, until one day it struck her that Aryaman constantly needed reminding before he washed his hands. So what did he do at school? Did he ever wash his hands before eating, or after playing cricket or basketball in the sun? When his hands were laden with dirt and filth, did he think twice before grabbing a sandwich? The answer to all these questions was a resounding NO. So she decided to concentrate on getting Aryaman to wash his hands more regularly. Aryaman and Gita - both slowly started getting more hygiene conscious - and consequently his colds reduced drastically. And Gita? She too started keeping healthier. While earlier she used to sick about twice a year, it has now been two years since she has placed a thermometer in her mouth!
Will you fall sick if you don't wash your hands often?
Of course, all this has a lot to do with the strength of your immunity system. If your immune system is all powerful, you can probably get away with washing your hands just 3-4 times a day. But in any case, frequent hand washing is a good habit, which is not time consuming, and is a small price to pay for a lifetime of good health and hygiene.
One of the most common causes of the common cold is that people come into contact with others who have the flu, and then they rub their nose or eyes without washing their hands.
However, while the common cold is a mild ailment, other serious diseases can like jaundice, meningitis and infectious diarrhea are also spread in this manner. You can prevent these fatal diseases by simply washing your hands frequently.
When should you wash your hands?
Every time your hands come into contact with
they pick up germs. These germs breed and multiply on your hands and under your nails, and the minute you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, these germs find their way into your body and start the process of infection.
- A contaminated surface
- An unwell person
- An unclean animal
How often should you wash your hands?
You should wash your hands as often as possible, especially:
If someone in your home is unwell, you should wash your hands more frequently. You should also make it a point to regularly disinfect surfaces when cleaning them.
- Before meals
- After meals
- Before cooking
- After returning home from an outing
- After touching your pet
How should you wash your hands?
- First, wet your hands and then apply soap. It is best to use a liquid soap like Dettol. Dettol has the advantage of being an antiseptic soap.
- Make sure you apply soap all over your hands, up to your wrists. We tend to neglect the nails when we are washing our hands. Don't! Apply the soap under your nails as well.
- Rub your hands together for at least 10 to 15 seconds. Lather well. There's no point in washing your hands in a haphazard manner, for if some germs remain, they will multiply in no time and you would have defeated the purpose.
- Rinse your hands thoroughly, and dry them well. While it's okay if you use a regular hand towel, if you want to be more hygienic, keep a box of thick paper tissues in your bathroom, which you can discard after one wash. Alternatively, hang out fresh hand towels often.
Germs are everywhere, and the more surfaces your hands come into contact with, the more germs you pick up. The importance of washing your hands often to disinfect them and to get rid of the buggers cannot be stressed enough.