Hand Washing & Your Health
Proper hand washing plays a very important part in staying healthy. In addition to preventing the spread of infectious diseases that may be transmitted through contact, hand washing also removes any dirt or soil that may have accumulated throughout the day. Your sanitation, and consequently your health, both benefit from frequent hand washing. Of all preventative measures, hand washing is one that doesn't require that much time, money, or effort, yet is highly effective.
Infections & Diseases
Small germs, bacteria, and viruses are often difficult to detect, yet they are easily spread by simply touching another person. These microbes can also be transmitted if you touch an object or surface that has been contaminated by someone else. Food and animals are other vectors in which you could accumulate germs, as recent cases of salmonella and E. coli can attest to.
Without adequate hand washing, you can easily infect yourself by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Serious illnesses that may arise include bronchiolitis infections, the Hepatitis A virus, influenza (commonly known as the flu), meningitis, and many gastrointestinal disorders such as enteritis (also called infectious diarrhea).
The flu often leads to pneumonia among seniors, and the combination of the two creates a recipe for disaster. In fact, the flu and pneumonia ranks as the eighth highest leading cause of death among Americans.
Dirt & Soil
Although you may not notice, your body excretes sweat and oil everyday through your skin. These bodily functions become even more pronounced after you spend time in the heat or after you exercise. Hand washing is a very effective way to eliminate any dirt or soil that are stuck to the sweat and oil on your skin. While alcohol-based hand sanitizers may kill 99.9% of bacteria on your hands, they don't do enough in the removing dirt or soil.