Hand washing for disease prevention

Händewaschen zur Krankheitsvorbeugung

Disease-causing bacteria and viruses lurk everywhere - but you can protect yourself simply by washing your hands. Hands constantly touch doorknobs, PC keyboards, bus and train poles, banknotes or other hands. This is how you pick up viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases. Thorough hand hygiene prevents infection with germs.

How to wash your hands properl

If you really want to reduce the number of germs on your hands, you should invest 20 to 30 seconds in washing your hands. Many people also only wash the palms of their hands - but you should rub all areas of the hand thoroughly.

Here is a guide to thorough hand hygiene:

    Wet your hands under running water, you choose the temperature.
  1. Use enough soap and spread it thoroughly. Scrub the palms and back of the hands first. If you interlace your fingers, you will also clean the spaces between your fingers. Do not forget the fingertips, fingernails and thumbs. A pH-neutral soap is best, as it is gentle on the skin's protective acid mantle. In public toilets, you should use liquid soap instead of bars of soap if possible - it is more hygienic. Antibacterial agents in the soap and the water temperature, on the other hand, do not influence the number of germs.
  2. Rinse hands under running water. 
  3. Dry your hands thoroughly, no area should be damp any more.

There is also a short explanatory video on this:

When washing your hands in public washrooms, it is best to close the tap with your elbow and use disposable towels. This will keep your freshly cleaned hands clean. Change towels regularly in your own household and wash them at 60 degrees.

When should you wash your hands?

Thorough hand washing is especially important after potential contact with pathogens. For example, after going to the toilet, after sneezing or coughing, after changing your child's nappy, after contact with animals or sick people and after contact with waste or raw meat.

To protect yourself and others, you should also wash your hands before cooking, before handling cosmetics and medicines, and before treating wounds or handling sick people in general.

(Source: https://www.netdoktor.de/hautpflege/richtig-haende-waschen/, 10.02.2020)