Why is Washing your Hands so Important?

Published on Jul 09, 2022 | 10:08 AM

Share Article :

social-icons social-icons social-icons

Keeping your hands clean can significantly reduce the risk of getting ill, especially when upper respiratory viruses are prevalent. Not just meant for keeping your hands clean, washing your hands helps you stay healthy!

It’s the First Line of Defense Against Disease

Unwashed hands can contain trillions of disease-causing substances, including feces, salmonella, diarrhea, respiratory and other viruses. When a person with unwashed hands coughs or sneezes or touches their eyes, nose, or mouth throughout the day, their risk of contracting the disease rises significantly. The same is true of anyone who handles an object or food that has been touched by someone with unwashed hands.

It Reduces Everyone’s Risk of Getting Sick, Including Children

By washing our hands with soap and water, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Global Handwashing Partnership, respiratory illnesses alone could be reduced by 16-21%.

Researchers estimate that over one million deaths a year can be prevented by reducing the spread of germs with good hand hygiene habits. Washing your hands with soap and water can reduce diarrhea-related illnesses by 30% and respiratory infections by 20%.

The top two infectious diseases in the world that lead to death in children are caused by diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, killing 1.8 million young children under the age of five annually. Both diseases can be reduced by washing hands properly and often. The CDC states that washing your hands with soap and water can protect one in three children who get sick.

It Reduces Antibiotic Resistance

When people wash their hands, they’re less likely to need or use antibiotics, which increases the resistance of bacteria and viruses. Handwashing also reduces the risk of becoming infected by these already-resistant invaders.

It’s Very Easy to Do

Preventing the spread of disease with proper hand hygiene is very easy to do. Yet, it is globally estimated that only 19% of people wash their hands after using the toilet. As well, of those who reported they wash their hands with water, very few are said to have used soap.

Having good hand washing habits and teaching communities about thorough hand washing can reduce absences in schoolchildren by 29-57% and reduce the overall amount of people who get sick by 23-40%.

The CDC recommends washing your hands with soap and water. However, in instances where soap is not available, sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, as well as 3% hydrogen peroxide, can also be used to disinfect the hands. Hand  sanitizer cannot stop the spread of certain germs, heavy metals or pesticides, or remove grease or chemicals, but it can reduce the number of germs on hands.

Although antibacterial soap is also an option for cleaning the hands, it is not necessary, nor does it guarantee effective removal of all contaminants.

Proper Handwashing Procedure

You’ll want to ensure that you’ve removed any rings, watches, or bracelets before washing. The CDC recommends using warm water and regular soap and washing for at least twenty seconds or as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.” To wash your hands properly, wet hands and ensure all of these areas are cleaned:

  • The front and backs of hands
  • Between fingers
  • Under fingernails using a finger brush

Use a rubbing motion to rinse your hands under clean running water, and then dry with a clean paper or other towel. Prevent recontamination by using the towel to turn off the tap.


Around-the-Clock, Quality Medical Care

Illnesses and the need for prescription renewals can occur at any time, not just during business hours. When you need the advice of a medical doctor for yourself, your child or another family member, simply choose Call-On-Doc. We provide instant access to qualified physicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, right from your tablet, phone, or computer.

For further assistance, whether for urgent care, women’s health, men’s health, or pediatric care, please visit www.callondoc.com, where you can get a same-day prescription right from your device, which means less exposure to unnecessary germs.

Was this article helpful?

Want to learn about a specific topic or condition?

Wayne C. Hahne,

English graduate and Call-On-Doc’s medical resource guide, Wayne C. Hahne is an experienced and passionate medical education content expert. Through diligent research, provider interviews and utilizing the industry's leading resources for wellness information, it is Mr. Hahne’s personal mission to educate the general public on medical conditions with in-depth and easy-to-understand written guides.

Related Blogs

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Call-On-Doc for Online Pediatric Doctor Visits

In an era defined by the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, getting regular care for your child has become both difficult and expensive. Founded in 2017, Call-On-Doc has not only made a name for itself as one of the most preeminent telemedicine providers in the United States but also for offering affordable and effective online pediatric care. 

Mar 03, 2021 | 5:28 PM

Read More arrow right

What Do I Have? Flu or COVID-19?

Not sure if you've got a cold, the flu or COVID-19? The symptoms are so closely related it's got many people questioning what they really have. To make things simple, here is a compiled list from our providers with guidance from the CDC to help you determine the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19.

Oct 11, 2021 | 2:58 PM

Read More arrow right

5 Reasons Why You Should Still Use Telemedicine After COVID-19

With the emergence of COVID-19 in 2020, more people utilize telemedicine than ever before. Once viewed just as an alternative to traditional doctor visits, telemedicine is quickly changing healthcare as we know it. 

Unlike usual doctor’s visits, talking to a doctor online won't give you instant access to tests like mammograms or lab work. However, the service does offer unique benefits not always achievable through an in-person doctor's appointment. CallonDoc also offers traditional in-person care by offering lab tests, diagnostic imaging and at-home tests, allowing patients to have full coverage on their healthcare needs.

With the COVID-19 pandemic gradually passing its peak, many people assume telehealth may be a thing of the past, but they’re sorely mistaken. With the pandemic allowing people to fully exploit the power of the internet and technology, the popularity of virtual doctor’s appointments is set to keep increasing. 
And if you’re still not convinced, here are five reasons why many still plan on using telemedicine after COVID-19. 

Feb 15, 2022 | 5:58 PM

Read More arrow right

384,000+ starstarstarstarstar Reviews

384,000+ star star star star star Reviews

Feedback from our amazing patients!

google icon star facebook icon

Highest Rated Telemedicine Provider

4.9 (3613 Reviews)
4.8 (2316 Reviews)