If it takes you a minute to think if your hands are clean, take a minute and clean them! – Dr Nkatha Gitonga
Did you know that hand hygiene is the primary measure to prevent infections?
Effective cleaning of hands takes about 20- 30 seconds
This article aims to sensitize our communities that improving hand-washing and general hand hygiene practices is a critical measure for disease prevention.
Parents, did you know that teaching your children how to wash their hands at an early age can create a lifelong healthy habit? Why not try singing a song that last 30 seconds to reinforce the habit.
Many diseases and conditions can be spread in the community as a result of people not washing their hands properly with soap and water. Germs causing diarrhoea and vomiting, are transmitted from poorly washed or unwashed hands; particularly after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
Moments for hand washing
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating or feeding your child
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting and diarrhoea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the bathroom, changing a diaper or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed or waste
- After touching garbage
- After visiting a healthcare facility (Note: use the provided alcohol-based hand sanitisers while moving around the health-care facility)
Hand hygiene tips:
- Carry alcohol-based hand sanitisers (which contain at least 60% alcohol content) for the moments when soap and water are not accessible. Remember this should not replace soap and water!
- Frequently missed areas when washing hands are the thumbs, fingertips and between your fingers
- Do not feel shy asking your healthcare professional to clean their hands before examining you. Ask for clean hands it is your right!
The World Health Organisation’s 7 steps to Washing your Hands Properly are as follows:
Step 1 – Wet your hands and apply enough soap (coin size)
Step 2 – Rub your palms together
Step 3 – Rub the back of each hand
Step 4 – Rub both your hands while interlocking your fingers
Step 5 – Rub the back of your fingers and the tips of your fingers
Step 6 – Rub your thumbs and the ends of your wrists
Step 7 – Rinse both hands properly with water
Clean hands – saves lives!