A USDA study finds that majority of consumers do not wash their hands properly 97 percent of the time. When and how should people wash their hands in order to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria?
Improper Hand Washing And Cross-Contamination
The results of a USDA study revealed that most consumers actually do not wash their hands properly most of the time. Specifically, researchers found that people often do not wash their hands for the necessary amount of time, and also do not wipe the hands dry with a towel afterward.
Researchers also found that cross-contamination happens when people pass the bacteria from raw poultry and onto other food and surfaces in the kitchen. Furthermore, of the participants, only 34 percent used a food thermometer to check if the burger they were cooking was cooked properly, and even some of those who still did not cook it to the safe minimum temperature.
The Proper Way To Wash Hands
The CDC recommends simple steps that must be taken for proper hand washing. As simple as they may seem, these guidance steps are actually based on data from various studies.
First, wet the hands with either warm or cold water then turn off the faucet before applying soap. It’s important to lather the back of the hands, under the nails, and in between the fingers.
The lathering process must be done for at least 20 seconds or two “Happy Birthday” songs long. Finally, rinse the hands with clean running water then air dry them or dry them out with a towel.
If there is no clean water or soap available, then using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is alright. Just like with the soap and water, the product must be applied to the hands and ensured that it has reached all the surfaces of the hands and fingers.
That said, hand sanitizers still do not kill all types of germs and harmful chemicals. They may not be as effective if the hands are obviously greasy or dirty.
When Should People Wash Their Hands?
Washing the hands is one of the most important steps in avoiding illnesses and preventing the spread of germs to others, and it’s not just before eating that this must be done.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s important to wash the hands before, during, and after preparing food, before and after taking care of a sick person, before and after tending to a wound, after using the toilet or cleaning up after a child who has just used the toilet, after changing diapers, after sneezing, coughing, or blowing the nose, and after touching garbage.
Moreover, it’s also important to wash the hands after tending to pets, such as after petting them, after handling pet food and pet treats, and after touching or cleaning their waste.