The one positive thing about the coronavirus pandemic is that it has reminded people of the importance of handwashing. The simple act of keeping your hands clean can help prevent multiple infections and diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. According to this systemic review, if the people completely embraced handwashing, millions of lives could be saved each year.
At work, you are interacting with multiple people, touching numerous surfaces, and visiting different places. So, you have to be diligent at keeping your hands clean to remove the many germs that accumulate over time.
The following are some recommendations for keeping your hands clean if you work in an in-person office.
Germs accumulate on your hands as you touch surfaces and greet people. The best way to keep your hands clean is to wash them regularly.
It is common practice to wash hands after visiting the toilet. At the office, you should also sanitize or wash your hands after:
There is no recommended frequency of washing hands – it really depends on your activities. Besides, there's nothing like washing your hands too much. The only effect it would have is dry hands, which you can solve with moisturizer or using soap with moisturizing ingredients.
Liquid handwash is safer than bar soap as it does not spread germs from one person to another. However, according to the CDC, antibacterial soap is not more effective in killing illness-causing germs than regular soap. Besides, most respiratory illnesses, including the flu, are caused by viruses meaning the antimicrobial properties won't help.
Make sure you wash your hands properly to remove the germs. According to the WHO, proper handwashing involves the following steps:
Use a paper towel to open the restroom door – the restroom's doorknob is a high-traffic surface that you should avoid touching.
At the office, it is not always practical to wash your hands with soap and water. For instance, you can't rush to the sink every time you come in contact with other people. Therefore, you should keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk.
For maximum effectiveness, the alcohol percentage of the sanitizer should be between 60 and 85 percent.
Aside from the alcohol percentage, you should consider the ingredients. For starters, you should go for sanitizers made of ethyl alcohol (ethanol) instead of the pungent-smelling isopropyl alcohol. Some contain extra ingredients such as vitamin E to help mitigate the drying effect of alcohol.
Consider Surgicept hand sanitizer. It is a fast-acting and non-sticky sanitizer with a patented formula, which has been used by medical professionals for more than a decade. This sanitizer also has skin conditioning ingredients to counteract the drying effect of alcohol.
Scientists at the University of Arizona found that your phone is ten times dirtier than most toilet seats! Here are other items that are dirtier than a toilet seat. Another study also found that a typical high schooler's smartphone can have as many as 17,000 bacterial gene copies on it. Bacteria can grow around the edges, under the screen protector and in the case. You could sanitize your phone daily by removing the phone from the case. Disinfect the phone and case. For best results, leave the disinfectant on the phone for 15-30 seconds before wiping it off. Be careful not to spray liquid in the earphone jack or power connector to avoid damaging your phone and voiding the warranty. Same goes for your laptop and mouse. Everything you touch. Sanitizer frequently.
Your coworkers can transfer germs to your hands when you greet them. So, whenever possible, avoid greeting or go for the safer fist bump option.
Additionally, avoid touching high-traffic surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails, and lifts. If a door is closed, use your elbow to open it. Similarly, avoid sharing equipment and tools such as staplers and pens.
Your office management probably does the cleaning. But it does not hurt to be extra cautious. According to this study, the typical office desk has over 10 million bacteria. For perspective, the typical toilet seat has 25,000 pathogens. Now imagine how easy it is to transfer all those germs to your hands.
Use a paper towel when sneezing or coughing
For obvious reasons, coughing or sneezing into your hands is unhygienic. Yet, it is so easy to forget. Medical professionals recommend covering your nose and mouth using a paper towel whenever you cough or sneeze and dispose of it properly and remember to clean your hands after.
If you do not have a paper towel near you, use your elbow.
Keeping your hands clean is not easy, but it is necessary if you want to avoid the hospital. Remember, keeping your hands clean not only helps prevent COVID-19, but also other illnesses such as the flu.