Our hands are responsible for the spread of communicable diseases to ourselves and to others. Our hands have small invisible organisms called microbes, some of them are bad and are called germs. These germs could be viruses, bacteria and/or fungi.
The diseases that can be spread through our hands if contaminated include Ebola, Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, Poliomyelitis, Some worm infestations, Chest infections, Chicken pox, Common cold and several other diseases.
These organisms can be removed by hand washing; we should always wash our hands with soap and water followed by, if available, the application of sanitizers. If water is not available we should apply only sanitizer.
There is no scientific advantage of using bactericidal soap, so use the common soap around. There are several types of sanitizers but the more popular ones are alcohol based either containing ethanol or isopropanol.A good one should contain between 62% -90%alcohol. Some other sanitizers contain povidine-iodine.
If we all try to wash our hands regularly, the incidence of communicable diseases will be drastically reduced.
1. Before, during and after preparing food.
We must wash our hands before preparing food for consumption; this will prevent contamination of the food. Even during the preparation we must wash our hands after each stage and each time raw food is handled such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruits.
After preparing the food, we must wash up and wash our hands as well.
2. Before eating food.
Before eating with our hands we must wash them with water and soap, even when cutlery is used, wash your hands before you start, you can never know. Your hands may have been contaminated through hand shake, use of the toilet or touching of contaminated articles.
3. Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
This is essential for two main reasons; if your hands are not washed before attending to a sick person you may carry germs to the already sick person and this happens in hospitals, on the other hand if you do not wash your hands after attending to a sick person you may contract the disease.
4. Before and after treating a cut or wound.
A care giver can infect a wound or contract a disease if appropriate action is not taken. Consequently, you must wash and sanitizer your hands before and after treating a wound. The care giver could contract Ebola if the injured person has Ebola.
5. After using the toilet.
Our urine and/or faeces may contain a lot of germs, our hands can become contaminated during clean up. Therefore, we must wash our hands after doing number 1 (only urine) or number 2 (urine and faeces).
6. After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
The urine and/or faeces of children may contain a lot of germs, our hands can become contaminated when cleaning them up or changing their diapers.We must wash and sanitizer our hands immediately after.
7. After blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing into your hands.
What comes out when we sneeze or /and cough may contain a lot of germs-viruses, bacteria and fungi. Diseases that can spread this way include measles, Ebola, meningitis, chicken pox, TB, and Common cold.
However, this can be prevented if our hands are washed and sanitized after sneezing and /or coughing into our hands.