In the wake of Ebola, a mystery virus affecting children in the Midwest, new rules on Antibacterial claims and a rapidly approaching cold & flu season we thought we’d take a moment to discuss washing your hands (the best and simplest way to stay healthy). Need Soap? We've got you covered!
When should you wash your hands?
How should you wash your hands?
Why & Extra Info? Because hands could become recontaminated if placed in a basin of standing water that has been contaminated through previous use, clean running water should be used. However, washing with non-potable water when necessary may still improve health. The temperature of the water does not appear to affect microbe removal; however, warmer water may cause more skin irritation and is more environmentally costly.
Turning off the faucet after wetting hands saves water, and there are few data to prove whether significant numbers of germs are transferred between hands and the faucet.
Microbes are all tiny living organisms that may or may not cause disease.
Germs, or pathogens, are types of microbes that can cause disease.
Using soap to wash hands is more effective than using water alone because the surfactants in soap lift soil and microbes from skin, and people tend to scrub hands more thoroughly when using soap, which further removes germs
What to do if you don’t have soap and running water?
Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of microbes on them in most situations. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.
Hand sanitizers are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
How do you use hand sanitizers?
Why? Many studies have found that sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers may 1) not work equally well for all classes of germs (for example, Gram-positive vs. Gram-negative bacteria, Cryptosporidium, norovirus); 2) cause germs to develop resistance to the sanitizing agent; 3) merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright, or 4) be more likely to irritate skin than alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
A final word about antibacterial soaps & triclosan: To date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers (this does not include professionals in the healthcare setting) using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap. As a result, FDA released a proposed rule in December 2013 to require manufacturers to submit data supporting the efficacy and safety of antibacterial soaps and body washes.