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The importance of hand-washing

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
General Wellness (161)      Skin Care (99)      Hygiene (35)     
During the course of a day our hands are exposed to all sorts of substances and while most are quite harmless, there are some that we need to be particularly mindful of. It’s not a good idea to be too pedantic about creating a germ-free environment as this can lead to a lower immunity, but it pays to keep the hand sanitiser close by.



Washing Hands
Image courtesy of flickr.com


Here are some instances where we need to ensure we wash our hands thoroughly:

After handling our pets - there are certain things we can catch from our pets, like worms (ringworm, hookworm, roundworm and tapeworm), diarrhoea (after handling their poop or cleaning out the littler tray) and Toxoplasmosis (a disease that can be transferred to you from your cat, especially if it hunts and eats fresh prey).



Woman Kissing Dog
Image courtesy of flickr.com


After handling raw meat – raw meats, especially chicken, contain a bacteria called Campylobacter that can cause headache, fever, diarrhoea and stomach spasms.



Washing Hands
Image courtesy of wikipedia.com


After handling unwashed eggs – especially if you’re collecting them straight from the nest. Eggs can carry Salmonella which can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting.

After using household cleaners or chemicals – not only can certain cleaners irritate the skin but they can easily be transferred from hand to mouth.



Hand Holding Money
Image courtesy of flickr.com


After handling money – money contains all sorts of nasties from faecal matter (poop) to traces of drugs to live viruses. Sounds pretty scary but regular hand-washing should prevent transfer.

After gardening – while studies have proven that gardening is good for our health, neglecting to wash our hands after handling soil can carry risks, especially if that soil has recently been treated or fertilised; it can lead to skin irritations, infections and respiratory conditions.



Washing Hands
Image courtesy of wikipedia.com


This information is not meant to alarm readers or deter anyone from undertaking these normal daily activities. The point is to remind us that the cleanliness of our hands plays a large part in our overall health.

The simple act of hand-washing – not forgetting our fingernails, wrists and the backs of our hands – takes around fifteen to twenty seconds (my lecturer used the example of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song, suggesting that we should wash our hands for the length of time it takes to sing the song).



Hand Holding Money
Image courtesy of wikipedia.com


This fifteen second act, combined with an occasional application of hand sanitiser (do not over-use as this can kill off good bacteria) is all we need to keep our hands clean and support our good health.

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