Handwashing is one of the simplest yet one of the most effective ways to prevent communicable diseases.

How do germs get into our hands?

Fecal matter (feces) from other people and animals are usually the sources of germs like E. coli, Salmonella, and the norovirus which causes diarrhea and respiratory infections. 

If people who use the toilet or change diapers don’t wash their hands and touch something else, we can get those germs onto our hands too.

Meat handlers who don’t wash their hands well can also pass on the germs from animal feces. And if we don’t wash our hands, we can pass on those disease-causing germs as well.

Why should we wash our hands?

The physicians Premier Surgical of Knoxville and Cleveland, TN, remind us there are several good reasons why we should make handwashing a habit

  1. We often touch our eyes, nose, and mouth without realizing it. Harmful bacteria and viruses can easily get through them and make us sick.
  2. We can easily transfer germs on our food and drinks if we prepare them without washing our hands well. This can make other people sick as well.
  3. Washing hands regularly can prevent the spread of diseases including respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.

If there are fewer people getting sick, this would reduce the number of antibiotics used and this may reduce the occurrence of antibiotic resistance

Is there a proper way to wash hands?

Keep yourself and the people around you healthy by making handwashing a habit. There are instances when you are most likely to spread germs. Make sure you wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after food preparation
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick, especially when he/she is having diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet or changing the diapers
  • After touching an animal, animal waste, or animal feed
  • After handling pet food
  • After handling animal products
  • After touching garbage

This five-step method can serve as your guide to ensure that you’re washing your hands the right way:

  1. Wash your hands with clean, running water.
  2. Lather your hands with soap. Make sure that you also lather the back of your hands, in-between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds (if you don’t want to run a timer, just use the Happy Birthday song as a guide).
  4. Rinse your hands with clean, running water.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.

Premier Surgical Associates is the largest group of general and vascular surgeons in the Knoxville area. We have offices in Knoxville, Cleveland, Dandridge, Harriman, Lenoir City, Maryville, Morristown, Newport, and Sevierville. To request an appointment with a Premier Surgeon visit https://www.premiersurgical.com/request-appointment/