Affinity Health | Be a champion and mentor for clean, healthy hands!
Affinity Health encourages all South Africans to stand together against harmful bacteria and infection by regularly washing hands and using hand sanitiser.
Washing Your Hands Protects You and Your Family
Did you know that the simple act of cleaning your hands with soap and water can help save the lives of millions of people worldwide? Yes, it’s true!
Today, 5 May, is World Hand Hygiene Day. So, join Affinity Health, and put your hands together for one of the best ways of preventing the spread of pathogens and infectious diseases – regular hand hygiene!
Of all the practical skills and essential lessons, COVID-19 has taught us, it’s the importance of washing our hands.
Handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to keep germs, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses at bay at home, school, work, and elsewhere.
According to the South African Medical Research Council, handwashing has been shown to prevent about 30 percent of diarrhoea-related illnesses and 20 percent of respiratory infections, according to research. Some scientists go so far as to say that proper handwashing can prevent 80 percent of diseases!
Germs are tiny organisms that are invisible to the naked eye and exist all around us. While some germs go about their business causing us no harm, others can make us ill.
CDC emphasises the importance of washing hands by highlighting that germs from unwashed hands can:
- Make their way into the body when our hands touch our eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Get into the foods we eat and drinks we consume.
- Be transferred to other objects and items, such as:
- Computer keyboards
- Remote controls
- Light switches
- Cupboard handles
- Toilet pans
Scientific studies show that you need to wash your hands for 20 seconds to remove harmful germs and chemicals. Make sure you clean all areas, including your palms, backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
If soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can be used instead. By looking at the product packaging, you can see whether a sanitizer contains at least 60% alcohol.
Read More: What is the Best Way to Wash Hands Properly?
According to Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health, good handwashing education should start at grassroots, with children being encouraged to wash their hands from a young age.
“As adults, make sure to practice what you preach. Children may need to be reminded to wash their hands at first, but with a little gentle persuasion, handwashing will soon become second nature.
And always remember to wash your hands before eating or cooking a meal, after touching potentially dirty surfaces, after using the bathroom, after coughing or blowing your nose.”
Read More: Keep Your Hands Happy and Germ-free
Hand Sanitiser Vs Washing Hands
South Africa tends to experience water shortage scares that force residents to find new ways of saving water while they remain hygienic and hydrated. In that time, the popularity of hand sanitiser has soared, so much so that hand sanitiser is used as often as possible.
But, is hand sanitiser just as effective as washing your hands with anti-bacterial soap and water?
Alcohol-based Hand Sanitiser
Alcohol-based hand sanitiser kills viruses and bacteria by softening the bacterial membrane, allowing the alcohol to render bacteria ineffective.
Alcohol-based hand sanitiser works against a variety of microorganisms but not spores. Alcohol-based versions typically contain some combination of isopropyl alcohol, ethanol (ethyl alcohol), or n-propanol. Hand sanitiser that contains 60% to 95% alcohol is most effective, Wikipedia explains.
Alcohol-based hand sanitisers have been used in hospitals and sterile facilities for years.
Alcohol-free sanitisers use a chemical called Benzalkonium Chloride, a recognised antiseptic and known bacteria killer. It is believed to be safer for the skin.
While alcohol-based hand sanitisers (particularly those with 60% alcohol or more) can reduce the number of some germs, CDC says soap and water is better.
About Affinity Health
Affinity Health aims to provide premier quality, affordable medical insurance to South Africans. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service when they are faced with injury or illness. We work to deliver innovative solutions that are simple, cost-effective, and proven, so our cover is structured to ensure that you get exactly what you need. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.