World Hand Hygiene Day

The hand is the multi-fingered terminal part of the forelimb common to vertebrates. The fingers contain some of the densest areas of nerve endings on the body and have the greatest positioning capability of the body: this explains the reason why the sense of touch is more associated with the hands.
When compared to the hands or paws of other vertebrates, the human hand is unique because the thumb and other fingers can work together (such is also seen in the hands of apes). This ability enables humans to do much complicated things than most other animals.
The hand is used to write, hold, carry, play games, type etcetera. The hand is also used as a tool for communication: a stroke or a pat at the back is used to show care, a slap is used to display annoyance or disapproval etcetera. Included to the functions of the hand is that it is an instrument for carrying germs and distributing it. Considering the so many functions the hands perform, it is necessary to keep them from carrying germs and distributing it.
The hands can get contaminated with unseen germs as it touch surfaces, open doors, shake hands, visit the toilet etcetera and thus, requires frequent cleaning. Steps needed to be observed while washing the hands to get the expected results include the following:
·         Wet the hands with clean running water.
·         Apply soap on hands to form rich lather.
·         Wash both sides of the hands up to the wrists, in between fingers and under the nails - do this for some seconds
·         Rinse the hands in running water and dry with clean towel or air dry.
If there is no access to water and soap, alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be used. However, this does not get rid of all germs neither does it get rid of all harmful chemicals.
Preventing infections and reducing avoidable burden on health systems is essential. Washing hands regularly goes a long way to achieve this thereby, saving lives.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi


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