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Save a life in 20 seconds - wash your hands

05 May 2015

It only takes seconds to protect yourself against germs and prevent infections from spreading, but the majority of people still fail to wash their hands properly, Direct365 explains

62% of men and 40% of women across Europe admit to not washing their hands after using the bathroom, according to a survey by Initial. Aside from the immediate contamination of germs from using such facilities, these shocking statistics also highlight the issue that people just don’t realise how vital efficient hand hygiene is. As part of the World Health Organisation’s Clean Your Hands Day on May 5th 2015, people all over the world are urging others to realise that washing your hands is more than just good manners and longstanding social etiquette, it can save lives. 

While you may think that not properly cleaning your hands after the bathroom will cause you to feel poorly at the most, you must consider how your germs could affect the lives of others. 

Infectious diseases, which are spread through unwashed hands, remain one of the largest causes of death and disease worldwide. The World Health Organisation estimated that washing your hands with soap and water could prevent diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%. Hand hygiene is one of the easiest way to keep others safe, especially if you are in an environment where there are vulnerable people such as hospitals, schools and care homes. 

It is easy to take the facilities that we have for granted in the UK, where clean, hot water and soap are always readily available. This could perhaps be why many of us forget to wash our hands, as disease doesn’t seem like much of a threat in our comfortable environments. However, regardless of how clean you think your hands are, you should always wash them for 20 seconds using soap and water, or an antibacterial gel if there is no water available. Clean them after using the bathroom, before and after preparing or eating food, if they are visibly dirty or whenever you feel that you need to throughout the day to prevent germs from spreading.

Unfortunately due to the way that some of our facilities have been designed, sometimes cross contamination can occur. This happens when you clean your hands, but then are forced to touch an unclean surface afterwards - door handles and the like. One way that companies are trying to reduce this is by installing automatic facilities, eliminating the need for physical contact. Specialist washroom facility companies have also been working with businesses to create a more sanitary environment, using contactless flush toilets, automatic hand dryers, taps and soap dispensers.