By Jennifer Meek, Director of Marketing for Charlotte Products
Practicing consistent hand hygiene has always been one of the most important steps we can take in preventing infection. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, daily handwashing has increased by as much as 250%, 86% of people are more conscious about germs than prior to the pandemic and 67% of people now wash their hands for 20 seconds or longer. But why? Let’s take a closer look at why handwashing is so important in preventing the spread of infection and keeping people healthy.
How does handwashing work?
When we rub soap and water together to form a lather, germs and soil are trapped and removed from our hands. The lather formed by rubbing water together with soap forms pockets that trap and remove germs and dirt from hands. The reason it is recommended to wash hands for 20 seconds is because this is the amount of time it takes for lathering to destroy and remove germs from skin. The germs are then rinsed down the drain.
Top 4 reasons we wash our hands
- Handwashing removes germs effectively. Because people frequently touch their eyes, mouth and nose the germs on our hands can very easily get into the body and infect it. By washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more and then drying our hands, we are able to remove germs from our hands. This prevents us from getting sick ourselves.
- Handwashing prevents us from giving germs to others. When we prepare food, the germs on our hands can get into the food and then be consumed by other people. Germs can multiply in some types of food and make people sick. In addition, we often touch other people by shaking hands or giving a high five. That is an easy way for germs to transfer from skin to skin.
- Clean hands assist with clean surfaces. Hand hygiene and surface hygiene are closely related. That is because handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. That keeps germs off of the surfaces we touch, like handrails, tabletops, keyboards, our cell phones, toys, elevator buttons, door knobs and more.
- When we teach about handwashing, it keeps people healthy. Teaching people about hand washing helps them and their communities stay healthy. According to the U.S. CDC, handwashing education in the community:
- Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40%
- Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
- Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%
- Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57%
The Charlotte Products Hand Hygiene Program is now available for all facilities. This system includes your choice of product, including an organic foaming hand soap, unscented foaming hand soap, scented foaming hand soap, foaming hand sanitizer and a gel hand sanitizer. It also comes with education resources to promote handwashing in your buildings and free safe, proprietary dispensers. Contact an expert at Charlotte to learn more.