World Hand Hygiene Day: Sanitisers Are Better Than Soaps, And Other Myths Busted - Nurses Arena
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Fadeyi Oluwaseun
Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho Marketing Management
Graduate, Nigeria.

Keeping your hands clean means staying healthy. As easy as it appears, washing hands come with a lot of dos and don'ts that people are not aware of.

On World Hand Hygiene Day, here's a list of facts that will ensure you always choose the right way to wash your hands.

Myth: Antibacterial Soap Is More Effective

Fact: You don't need an antibacterial soap for clean hands. For regular use, pick any hand soap. Antibacterial soaps should be only used when a person is ill or in healthcare places where patients have poor immunity. If you have pets at home, antibacterial soap makes sense.

However, avoid overusing antibacterial products as it can drastically reduce healthy bacteria living on your skin. Moreover, using them excessively can also make your body less effective in fighting new germs.

Myth: Hand Sanitisers Can Replace Soaps

Fact: Hand sanitisers (with 60% alcohol content) should be used if you don't have access to water and soap. While sanitisers only remove some germs quickly for some time, using soap and water to wash hands can keep them away for a long time. Sanitisers should be applied till your hands are dry, which takes merely 20 seconds.

Also, the effectiveness of sanitisers drops when used on greasy or dirty hands.

Myth: Hands Should Be Washed For 1 Whole Minute

Fact: Just remember 20 seconds of scrubbing every time you plan to wash your hands. In case you are not sure how long 20 seconds are, just hum the 'Happy Birthday' tune in your head, twice. Since hand sanitisers are not enough in removing harmful chemicals, it is important to spare 20 seconds to wash your hands with a soap as it enters the cell wall and kills all viruses and bacterias.

Myth: Wash Hands When Really Dirty As Moisture Attracts Bacteria

Fact: While moisture attracts bacteria, the Global Hygiene Council had finally revealed that one should wash his/her hands over six times daily. If it is hard to keep track, just remember washing hands before meals and after visiting the toilet.

Also, watch out for signs of excessive hand wash. If you are particular about cleanliness and fear dirt/germs, your concerns can manifest into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is a type of anxiety disorder

Myth: Toilet Seat Is The Dirtiest Spot At Home

Fact: It's not just your home toilet. Your kitchen holds six of 10 spots for germiest areas at home. Scientists say kitchen cloth/sponge, kitchen sinks, toothbrush holders, bowls of pets, coffee maker, faucet handles, toys of your pets, kitchen counters, knobs of the stove, and vegetable chopping boards are some of the dirtiest spots at home.

Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose or food after coming in contact with these surfaces.

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