Why Handwashing Keeps Us Healthy

Our hands allow us to explore and interact with the world around us. Unfortunately, this means that our hands are often the first point of contact when touching contaminated surfaces. The average person can touch nearly 300 different surfaces in just half an hour. This, coupled with frequently touching our faces, can make it easy for germs to move around our bodies and transmit illness.

The best way to prevent germs from spreading illness or disease is through frequent, thorough handwashing, especially when interacting with potentially contaminated surfaces. Proper handwashing physically removes over 99% of germs, and handwashing alone can reduce bacterial and viral illness by 20 to 50%.

Science supports that one of the single most impactful things someone can do to protect their health and the health of those around them is to follow effective handwashing habits.

The Most Effective Handwashing Habits

Effective handwashing isn’t a matter of overwashing your hands or constantly cleaning them, but rather paying special attention to key moments when hands are likely contaminated. You also need to be mindful of washing your hands thoroughly and long enough for germs to be removed.

The two most important times to wash your hands are after using the bathroom and before eating. A simple trip to the restroom can double the number of germs on your hands. Foodborne illness is also a common health problem that can be prevented by as much as 50% with just handwashing.

Some other important times to wash your hands include:

  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick or injured
  • After playing with, feeding, or cleaning up after a pet
  • Before, during, and after cooking or meal prepping
  • After sneezing, coughing, rubbing your nose, etc.
  • After handling waste, recycling, and garbage bins

When you do wash your hands, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Get your hands completely wet.
  2. Apply soap all over your hands.
  3. Lather and scrub very thoroughly for 20 seconds.
  4. Rinse with clean, running water.
  5. Dry with a clean towel or air dryer.

Handwashing and hand sanitizer are a team.

While a 60% or more alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills many different strains of bacteria and viruses, it doesn’t remove them or eliminate all varieties. Because of this, it’s best to see hand sanitizer as an easy way to sanitize on the go, but not a direct replacement for handwashing.

For example, after running errands, it’s a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly when you can, even if you used hand sanitizer while out. It’s especially important to wash rather than sanitize before eating a meal or after using the bathroom.

The Bentz Dental Implant & Prosthodontic Center provides a healthy, hygienic environment for patients.

Your health is our main priority, and we don’t just mean your oral health! Dr. Bentz and the team go above and beyond to maintain a sanitary and hygienic environment for patients. This includes keeping our facility very clean, following CDC protocol for sanitization, and screening patients to ensure everyone who visits is healthy.

For more information, give our office a call or use this online form.