Proper and regular hand hygiene, that is, in the first place we cut regular hand washing, is a good, simple and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of many infectious diseases.
It is something that we know, but it seems that not many follow those simple rules of hygiene, and this was best seen during the coronavirus.
All those viruses and bacteria can be transmitted by unclean hands, such as the common cold, flu, infectious diarrhea, and other infectious diseases.
And even if this is something that all of us learn while we are kids, if we would ask you now, how and when to properly wash hands; would you know the answer?
From today’s perspective, it would be difficult to conceive of society without soap.
We owe the survival of a large part of humankind and life as we know it today to that ancient design.
Historical evidence of the production of the first precursors of soap dates back to the early third millennium BC and was discovered in the archaeological coatings of the Babylonian civilization.
On clay tablets that were located in this civilization, there are also the first instructions for the manufacture of individual hygiene elements.
The instructions said this: use water, alkaline essences, and the oil of the cinnamon plant.
This was the first soap and the first instruction on how to wash hands.
Why is hand hygiene important?
We presume that you always use soap and wash your hands when they are visibly dirty – but you should also remember to wash them before food preparation, breastfeeding, or feeding children.
But, this is also true when you are doing anything with your kids, epseiyll if they are babies or a newborn.
You must wash your hands when you touch the mouth, nose, or eyes or when you have contact with a sick person.
Hands need to be washed after you have used the toilet after you have changed diapers, you have wiped your nose, coughed, sneezed, etc.
If you have been touching objects contaminated with bodily secretions or blood you need to wash your hands, as well as when you had contact with the person who is sick.
Always wash your hands when you had contact with a sick person, or animals also, and when you have performed some house activities such as taking out the trash and cleaning the home.
Also, and this is important to know, you must never forget to clean your hands when you have come back home from the outside, from walking, playing, or shopping.
And, of course in all those times when you know that your hands were potentially contaminated.
You clean and wash your hands so that you prevent microorganisms, like
bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa to come close to you, and the simplest way it can come to you is when the microorganism is touching your hands, and then you touch your mouth or nose, and it penetrates your organism.
Some of them can cause diseases, and some of them are already inside of us, and we are used to them as it is.
Potential illness agents can be trained into the body through infected hands through the digestive system (mouth), respiratory system (nose), eye socket, or through harmed skin (larger or smaller wounds on the skin, scrapes).
And just by doing this simple task, we can prevent the spread of pathogenic microorganisms?
Now, we all know that hands are washed with soap and water, as the cheapest, most effective way of cleaning them.
First of all; it is necessary to remove rings and other jewelry, and wash hands, in a way that you are rubbing the entire surface of the hands well: the palms, the backs of the hands, the skin between the fingers, the area under the nails, the skin of the wrists, all for 30 seconds.
Then you should rinse the entire surface of the skin of the hands (hands and wrists) under running (warm) water.
After this, you should dry your hands, by wiping them, and in the case that you are using a cotton towel, it should only be used for wiping your hands and must be changed often.
Also, an additional piece of advice is to use your hand towel and not give someone else to use, as this is then truly sanitary.
If you wash your hands in a public toilet (in a restaurant, cafe, store, etc, and we can agree that this is sometimes what all of us have to do), then you must be extra careful.
If you are washing your hands in some public place, then it is necessary to dry your hands with a paper towel and close the faucet with a paper towel, avoiding contact with the washed skin of the hands with the faucet.
After that, you should throw the used paper towel in the bin.
In such toilets, hands can be dried on a hot air machine instead of being wiped with a paper towel.
When leaving the toilet, avoid touching the surrounding surfaces with your hands.
Now, in the next section we want to take a look at the soap, and what kind is the best to use.
Besides these differences, a shower gel is in fact, something that is closest to the soap, regarding its elements.
Their formulations are very similar and can remove any bacteria and dirt from your hands.
On top of this, when you use a shower gel on your hands, you can use a smaller amount, and it has a better foam, and also can nurture your skin and has a better smell.
Can You Use Shower Gel As Hand Soap?
As we have said in the previous lines, when you are washing your hands, then it is advisable to do it under warmer water and to wash your hands with liquid soap.
It is said by the experts that it is much better to use liquid soap on your hands (it is better to use liquid soap, but if you use ordinary soap, make sure that it is on a surface from which the water can be drained.
Now, on the market you can find different variants of soap – and some of them are containing one or additional disinfectants founded on ethyl alcohol or isopropanol.
These elements are utilized after traditional hand washing for antisepsis, particularly in hospital situations, and thus to an extra extent after ordinary, standard hand washing, the number of microorganisms, and so-called transient flora to a minimum.
They are applied after washing the hands with soap and water, they are rubbed into the skin of the hands according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and most often it is about 30 seconds until the skin is dry.
Disinfectants should be selected carefully, taking into account their functional components and features, and they should only be utilized when we want to reach a more profound antimicrobial activity on our hands, or when we don’t have water nearby.
Now, at some times in our lives, we will find ourselves in a situation where soap is not available and then we have to find some alternate solution.
When soap is not there, hands can be cleaned with something that is including disinfectants.
On the market, you can find, for example, a rinsing liquid or as wet wipes or towels.
They are useful for medical experts (e.g. work in the field, home visits, etc.), but also in everyday life (e.g. on the road, on a trip, in the park, in the alley, after being in the hospital, after riding the bus or tram) when there is no water close.
However, these agents are not sufficient when the hands are laboriously polluted with dirt, blood, or other organic elements.
Additionally, these elements can parch out the skin too much, and some individuals find the scents they include very aggressive for their skin.
Now if you do ot have anything of these, and in the place you are currently in, you can only find a shower gel, you may wonder if is it ok to wash your hands with the shower gel, having in mind its components.
Now, we have to say that the shower gel is a mixture of cleaning detergent that is in the water.
In it, we can also find elements like preservatives to make the gel stable and in such form.
Now, the question is when you compare this gel with regular soap, then we can see that the shower gel is a hygiene item, that has the next benefits.
The shower gel does not fry the skin, and it is less acidic – it is closer to the one that is already on our skin.
And regular soap can be problematic for the skin – the composition bubbles more, but the distinction is particularly evident in water which is very hard.
The shower gel is more active on a surface, but unlike the soap it must be rinsed more, having in mind that usually in it, there are some additional elements, like creams, and they are not necessary for cleaning, but for hand care.
The surface of our skin is not sterile – some microorganisms are permanent residents of our skin and are called resident microflora.
They play a major role in protecting against pathogenic microorganisms, that is, those that can cause disease.
During daily activities, hands are contaminated with many microorganisms from the environment – through contact with contaminated surfaces, objects, people, animals, etc.
Those microorganisms that are not constantly present on the skin of the hands, but occasionally accumulate on it, we call contact transient microflora.
Regular and proper hand washing will prevent the spread of most infectious diseases that can be transmitted by unclean hands.
The habit of regular hand washing should be inculcated in behavioral habits already in early childhood.
Protect wounds (cuts, scratches) with bandages, plasters, or protective gloves, as damaged skin is susceptible to infection.
For cleaning hands, you can use the best regular soap, as it may be not the real choice for the care of your hands, but it is something that cleans the best for sure.
If you do not have any soap on your hands, you can use anything else – a dish detergent, and also a shower gel.
Do not expect the same results, but it can come in handy for sure.
It gives a better foam and can do the cleaning, but some of them have in their composition some additional elements and they can provide care for the skin, but when it comes to cleaning, the soap does the better job, for sure, especially having in mind that soaps are made these to also care for your skin and for also great smell.