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Good hand hygiene is one of the most important weapons we have against the spread of germs; for protecting ourselves and others from viruses like Covid-19. Good hand hygiene, however, consists not only of washing hands properly but also, drying properly.
Some bacteria and viruses remain on hands after washing and are more easily spread via wet hands than dry ones.
Washing hands is important. Drying hands after washing is equally important.
Even though studies have shown that a thorough washing with soap will remove nearly all traces of germs, the importance of drying hands after washing should never be underestimated because moisture is precisely what germs thrive on. Drying with paper towels removes even more germs than washing alone, because the friction of drying reduces the germ numbers ever more. If your hands are even just damp, because you’re impatient or you’ve rubbed your wet hands on your dirty jeans to dry them, you’ll again have created an environment in which germs can flourish.
Damp hands spread 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands
How you dry your hands matters, too. When it comes to hand hygiene, knowing the facts can help you act to avoid infection. The most hygienic way to dry is with paper or cloth towels.
Many public toilets have electric air dryers for hand drying but rubbing your hands together under electric dryers is a poor option compared to paper towel drying. Paper towels are more efficient, they don’t spatter germs, they won’t dry out your hands and most people actually prefer them.
Basically, because people do not take the time to dry their hands completely using these electric dryers. “It takes too long, and it’s too noisy”. Instead, many opt to dry their hands for a bit, then wipe them on their clothing, or open the door with their still-wet hands. Actions that may be the undoing of a good hand washing.
Also, rubbing hands together under an electric dryer can bring bacteria that live within the skin to the surface, and electric air dryers can spew germs back on your hands, and into the air where you can breathe them in and contaminating the whole public toilet area.
Paper towels can also be used as a barrier when turning off taps and opening doors to exit. (Remember that some people don’t wash their hands at all. So, when you grab the door handle, you’re picking up whatever germs were left behind.)
Want to save the planet as well as the human population? An electric blower uses more energy than making a paper towel.
During this Covid-19 pandemic especially, we must make a conscious effort to use the best hand hygiene using the tools available. This includes washing hands well and drying thoroughly. The importance of drying hands after washing is real.
Always dry your hands, properly, after washing them. Help stop the spread of the virus.
Posted: Wednesday 27 May 2020
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