Disease-causing bacteria and viruses lurk everywhere. But an infection can be prevented with a simple measure: Wash your hands. After all, hands are the most frequent carriers of pathogens. Thorough hand hygiene can prevent an infection with germs. The pharmacists at Saint Charles Pharmacy Vienna and pharmacist Alexander Ehrmann give tips on how to wash your hands properly.

Why is hand washing important?

Pathogens can be easily transmitted when shaking hands or through shared items. These germs quickly enter the body via the mucous membranes. This already happens when you rub your eyes or nose with your hands or when you put your hands to your mouth while eating. This “self-contact” triggers up to 80 percent of all infectious diseases. By washing your hands regularly with a strong disinfectant soap, you interrupt this transmission path and infection can be prevented. After all, thorough hand washing reduces the number of germs on the hands by up to a 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 only for a few seconds, not even with soap, you will hardly protect yourself from infections. If you want to effectively reduce the number of germs, we recommend washing 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 are e.g. essential oils like thyme or clove. Studies have shown that these oils are able to neutralize a very broad spectrum of bacteria within a short time.

How does proper hand washing work?

  1. Moisten your hands under running water.
  2. Use sufficient soap and distribute it thoroughly. Scrub the palms first and then the back of the hand. Do not forget your fingertips, fingernails and thumb. In public toilets you should use liquid soap instead of bars of soap if possible.
  3. Rinse hands thoroughly under running water and dry hands until no area is damp.

In public washrooms, it is best to use disposable towels. In your own household it is recommended to change the towels regularly and wash them at 60 degrees.

When are you supposed to wash your hands?

  • After coming home
  • After a potential contact with pathogens
  • After going to the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After diaper change
  • After contact with animals or sick people
  • After contact with waste or raw meat
  • Before meals or cooking
  • Before handling cosmetics and medicines
  • Before you treat wounds

Our pharmacist Alexander Ehrmann gives the tip not to see hand washing as an annoying burden, but to declare hand washing a ritual. He himself enjoys a pleasant hand-wash in lukewarm water after each return home and the subsequent cleaning of the hands with our Saint Charles Pharmacist Soap. This was developed during the time of the bird flu and disinfects with natural substances. The best thing about it: unlike most strongly disinfecting soaps, the pharmacist’s soap does not dry out the hands, but cares with aloe vera in a natural way. (Here you can find the development history of our pharmacist soap)

Disinfectant can be used in addition to normal hand washing. A disinfectant spray is extremely practical when travelling. To protect yourself from germs in public transport, simply spray two to three pump strokes onto your hands and rub them in thoroughly. Our tip: The Saint Charles Pharmacy Spray makes hand washing 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]