The World Health Organization says that the most important action we can take during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is to wash hands frequently to remove any viruses that may be on them. Washing hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of illnesses in hospitals, care homes, offices, schools, food-handling businesses and the home. It’s estimated that 80% of communicable diseases are transferred between people by touch.
Most people don’t wash their hands effectively. Around 50% of men and 22% of women don’t use soap and, even then, most people only wash the palms of their hands. In addition, right-handed people tend to use the right hand to wash the left hand more thoroughly and vice versa.
Why sanitize your hands
You use your hands to eat, touch, hold and carry things, clean, scratch and wipe your own body, and to greet other people. Hands are the part of the body that’s most exposed to germs and substances in the environment and areas shared with other people such as offices, schools, hospitals, shopping centers and public transportation. Poor hand hygiene can quickly spread germs around these shared spaces via common touchpoints like door handles, shopping carts, cash points/ATMs and payment terminals, stair railings, coffee pots, and handles on trains and buses. If soap and water are not available, applying sanitizer helps prevent these germs from spreading.
Steps for effective hand sanitizing
- Take off any rings or jewelry on your hands before using sanitizer.
- Dispense a pump of sanitizer into the palm of your hand.
- Rub hands palm to palm.
- Fingers interlaced, rub palm to palm and then right palm to back of left hand and vice versa.
- Cusp back of fingers into opposing palm and rub side to side.
- Clasp right hand around left thumb and rub thumb in rotational manner and vice versa.
- Rub in a rotational manner backwards and forwards by placing fingertips of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
- Keep rubbing until hands are thoroughly dry.