General, Research, Technology

Hands from the point of view of science: how to wash them?

Hot water or cold? Solid soap or liquid? Towels or hot air dryers? This ritual has become very important for many of us - we resort to it several times a day. But how to do it right, you know? Wash your hands - it would seem that it could be easier. Although there is much evidence that washing your hands after using the toilet, before eating or after traveling by public transport can reduce the spread of disease, only 5% of people wash their hands properly.

But before you start saving hot water, do notforget about the vagaries of human behavior. During the experiments, hand washing was clearly indicated by time, but in real life, if the water is very hot or very cold, we try not to wash our hands for a long time. Relatively speaking, pleasant warm water can cause you to linger at the washbasin.

Which is better: antibacterial solution or soap?

A lot of research has been done on this topic. Back in 2007, scientists came to the conclusion that the substance that is usually added to an antibacterial solution for washing hands - triclosan - does not reduce the number of bacteria that remains on people's hands. In any case, no more than ordinary soap, and certainly does not prevent the spread of infections. A 2015 study came to the same conclusion. Meanwhile, laboratories have also shown that triclosan can increase the risk of antibacterial resistance and alters the hormonal background in animals, which led to its ban in the United States and EU countries.

So back to soap and water.

Do I need to dry my hands after washing?

When you are in a hurry, you give water from your handsjust drain by shaking them. This is normal if you do not touch anything when leaving the bathroom. If you touch things, you can pick up microbes because they are easier to carry on wet hands.

You are also missing out on the benefits of hand drying, as it alone can reduce the level of germs left in your hands.

Drying hands with air or a towel?

There is much debate on this subject. Most publications come down to using disposable paper towels. Firstly, it’s faster than waiting for the traditional electric hand dryer to do its job. A study in New Zealand found that people had to wait about 45 seconds for the dryer to evaporate excess moisture on their hands. Most of us do not like to hang out for so long.

Now, of course, there is a new generation of inkjetdryers that work faster. They showed that hands can be dried quickly and efficiently, just like a paper towel. Ten seconds with a towel or jet dryer leaves your hands equally dry.

But jet dryers have undergone a certaincriticized: they have become so powerful that they can spread germs around the room. A study at Westminster University showed that the most powerful hand dryers can spread the virus up to 1.5 meters throughout the room, and a later study increased it to three meters. But these studies are not 100% reliable, as they were sponsored by paper towel manufacturers. More research needs to be done in public toilets rather than in laboratories.

Another study in the United States found that if the toilets were clean and tidy, people were more likely to wash their hands. If the sinks are dirty, people rush to leave the latrine.

Whichever way you wash your hands, the mainThe conclusion that can be drawn from these studies: wash and dry your hands longer than they used to. To work well with foam, with palms and the back of the palms, as well as to clean the skin between the fingers, under the nails and on the wrists, it takes at least 15-30 seconds.

However, all materials in this article are intendedfor general information purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for the medical prescriptions of your own doctor or other healthcare professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health.