I asked a friend this question recently and the reply was when I take my bath in the morning and after using the toilet. According to global hygiene council you should wash your hands at least more than six times in a day.
Many of us do not wash our hands before eating especially when we are outside the comfort of our homes, Hand washing is the most basic and cost effective health measure for preventing food borne diseases, such as diarrhea, and respiratory infections such as, influenza all you need is a running tap and soap
HOW IMPORTANT IS HAND WASHING?
LET’S LOOK AT THESE SCENERIOS
Mr sule and Mr tush are both project managers at a construction site, they have been working all morning and it’s time for lunch Mr sule is craving Boli (roasted plantain) he see a woman by the road side selling roasted plantain she even has groundnut, correct! .But his friend Mr tush is the fancy guy no way is he going to buy food from a road side seller, so he buys chicken and chips from the nearest fast food restaurant while Mr sule buys the plantain and groundnut.
They both eat their meals with their hands, later that evening they both came down with diarrhea before you say Na lie! ‘Dirty no dey kill black man,’ let’s look at what they both did wrong, whether you buy food from a nice restaurant or a road side seller you are likely to come down with diarrhea if you eat without washing your hands, both Mr. sule and Mr tush have come in contact with dirty surfaces and currency notes before eating which introduced germs into their system.
Ever wonder why you had running stomach or a flu, after eating that delicious meal you bought, maybe this next scenario would help put the puzzle together.
Mama cook and Mr. chef are both good cooks in their own leagues, mama cook owns her shop while Mr. chef works in a five star hotel, aside being good cooks they both have one thing in common they have poor hand hygiene practice, while chopping carrots for a delicacy he was preparing Mr. chef was pressed (had to urinate) and decided to use the rest room, after using the rest room he came back to his kitchen table and continued chopping the carrots.
Mama cook on the other hand babysits her four month old grandchild, while cooking she hears the baby crying, she checks on the baby and finds out the baby had soiled it’s diaper she changes it quickly and goes back to her cooking. Mr. Chef and Mama Cook have made a common mistake people who cook for the public make which is not washing their hands when it is absolutely necessary that they do. If you think it is only health workers that can infect you if they do not carry out proper hand washing well think again.
A friend of mine almost died of cholera because she bought food from someone who didn’t carry out proper hygiene a lot of people have been hospitalized and some even died because people like mama Cook and Mr. chef failed to protect their customers by carry out proper hand hygiene before food preparation and even during food preparation.
We are in an era where a lot of diseases are emerging or rather there is an increase in occurrence of these diseases than in the past for example the incidence of Ebola fever in west Africa in 2015 and Lassa fever the following year, these emerging disease calls for affordable and cost effective means of illness prevention.
WHEN SHOULD YOU WASH YOUR HANDS?
- Before eating any food, especially those eaten with hands e.g. chips, fruits etc.
- After eating
- After using the rest room: ladies even if you only used the rest room to adjust your make up wash your hands before leaving.
- Before preparing a meal
- After handling raw meat, fish or poultry
- Before feeding a child
- After changing a baby’s diaper
- After touching animals
- Wash your hands or use a hand antiseptic before and after tending to a sick person.
HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS
- Wet your hands.
- Apply soap.
- Lather and rub hands quite vigorously.
- Wash both palms and outer hands.
- Count at least 20 seconds before rinsing.
- Dry hands on clean towel or paper towel.
ALCOHOL HAND RUBS HOW USEFUL ARE THEY?
If you are always on the go, there might not be water or soap for you to carry out hand washing before eating but you can use alcohol hand rubs or hand sanitizers as they are often called. They are quiet handy and are as effective as hand washing.
Some of us fancy road side foods( Hot dogs ,suya, Roasted plantain, boiled corn etc.) after purchasing this foods using hand sanitizer before eating them prevents us from coming down with food-borne diseases and saves us time, money and trips to the hospital.
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