Pathogenic bacteria and viruses lurk everywhere. But infection can be prevented with one simple measure: Wash your hands. Because hands are the most common carriers of pathogens. Thorough hand hygiene can prevent infection with germs. The pharmacists of the Saint Charles Pharmacy Vienna and pharmacist Alexander Ehrmann give tips on how to wash your hands properly.
Why is hand washing important?
When shaking hands or through shared objects, pathogens can easily be transmitted. These germs quickly enter the body through the mucous membranes. This already happens when you rub your eyes or nose with your hands or put your hands to your mouth while eating. This "self-contact" is the trigger for up to 80 percent of all infectious diseases. By washing your hands regularly with a strongly disinfecting soap, you interrupt this transmission path and infection can be prevented. Thorough hand washing reduces the number of germs on the hands by up to one thousandth. This has been investigated and confirmed in many studies.
Our tip from the pharmacy: How to wash your hands properly
If you wash your hands for only a few seconds, even with soap, you are hardly protecting yourself from infections. If you want to effectively reduce the number of germs, we recommend that you wash your hands thoroughly with a disinfectant soap for at least 20 to 30 seconds. We particularly recommend disinfectant soaps of natural origin. Natural substances with germicidal potential include essential oils such as thyme or clove. Studies have shown that these oils are able to neutralise a very broad spectrum of bacteria within a short time.
How does proper hand washing work?
- Moisten your hands under running water
- Use enough soap and spread it thoroughly. Scrub the palms first and then the back of your hands. Don't forget the fingertips, fingernails and thumb. In public toilets, you should use liquid soap instead of bars of soap if possible.
- Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water and dry them until no area is damp.
In public washrooms, it is best to use disposable towels. In your own household, it is recommended to change towels regularly and wash them at 60 degrees.
When should you wash your hands?
- After coming home
- After possible contact with germs
- After going to the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After changing a nappy
- After contact with animals or sick people
- After contact with rubbish or raw meat
- Before eating or cooking
- Before handling cosmetics or medicines
- Before treating wounds
Our pharmacist Alexander Ehrmann's tip is not to see hand washing as an annoying burden, but to declare it a ritual. He himself enjoys a pleasant hand wash in lukewarm water after every trip home and cleaning his hands afterwards with our Saint Charles Apothecary Soap. This was developed in the time of bird flu and disinfects with natural substances. The best thing about it: unlike most strong disinfecting soaps, the apothecary soap does not dry out the hands, but cares for them naturally with aloe vera. Disinfectants can be used in addition to normal hand washing. When travelling, a disinfectant spray is extremely practical. To protect yourself from germs on public transport, simply spray two to three pumps onto your hands and rub them in thoroughly. Our tip: The Saint Charles pharmacy spray makes washing your hands a natural experience.
Sources (in extracts): https://www.netdoktor.de/hautpflege/richtig-haende-waschen/ [26.02.2020] https://www.infektionsschutz.de/haendewaschen/ [26.02.2020]