Everyone comes into contact with millions of disease-carrying microorganisms on a daily basis. Microorganisms patiently wait on chairs, tables, doorknobs, steering wheels, and even bodies for the opportunity to enter a host. There is a way to combat these devious germs with one simple action. It’s the-most-rushed through and underrated act of hygiene in daily life: hand-washing. This one act prevents illness and even saves lives. As a nurse I have been especially trained on how to stop the spread of infections. I know that hand-washing is the best way to stop the spread of illness. Proper hand washing will not only leave hands smelling fresh but also prevent the spread of disease-causing germs and prevent everyone from getting sick. With a good hand-hygiene routine you too can kill germs and not just moisten them. To properly wash your hands you’ll need to follow these three steps, wash with soap and water, rub your hands your hands together causing friction and allow for enough time.
The first step to effective hand-washing is to wash with soap and water. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC recommends using clean running water while washing hands to prevent recontamination from a basin of standing water or river. First you need to turn on the water to a comfortable degree. The temperature of the water doesn’t make a difference in the number of microbes removed, meaning it won’t kill more or fewer germs on your hands. However, warmer temperatures can cause skin irritation if you wash your hands several times a day. I know this to be true from the dry and cracked hands I have experienced as a nurse due to constant hand-washing. Water alone will not decontaminated your hands; soap is needed.
Soap acts as a surfactant lifting soil and germs from the skin’s surface by breaking the surface tension between the two. There are a variety of soaps to be used that will serve this purpose. Bar soaps are widely available, and you will find them in any residential home or hotel. They are relatively inexpensive and allow for maximum usage. Bar soaps are hand held, fitting snuggly in the palm of your hand. When using a bar soap to wash your hands, hold it firmly in the palm of your hand, as it will be slippery when wet. The whole bar needs to be submerged in water in order for it to be effective. While holding onto the bar, rapidly run your hands through the water to wet your hands and the soap at the same time. Although bar soap is more cost effective, it also may leave germs behind because it is used and touched more often. Additionally bar soaps tend to leave behind a residue on your hands; you may have noticed this chalky white residue in your shower or tub in the form of soap scum. For these two reasons I’m inclined to suggest another option.
Liquid soap is a more appropriate option. Liquid soap significantly reduces any exchange of germs between users which is an added benefit. Liquid soap is more expensive than its solid counterpart, but it allows for the most effective usage. Liquid soaps are found in most public restrooms and can be purchased in bulk at most grocery stores as well as in individual pumps. Most forms of liquid soap you will find in manual pumps, but they also come in automatic soap dispensers. An automatic dispenser is electronic, usually running on batteries. It dispenses soap when its motion sensors detect an object, usually a hand, under the spout of the dispenser. Both provide for a more hygienic way of acquiring enough soap to de-bug your hands, that is rid them of microbes. When using a liquid soap you will pump out the desired amount of soap into your hand. To prevent the loss of the soap down the drain; cup your hands together and run them under the water with one quick motion to get them wet. After deciding on a particular variety of soap and adjusting the faucet to produce the perfect temperature of water for your hands, you will need friction to finally rid your