The importance of frequent handwashing in preventing the spread of disease is well-known. Learning which common infections you can spread from dirty hands should have you cruising toward the nearest sink and antibacterial soap.
Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by the influenza virus. The primary mode of transmission is through respiratory droplets expelled during coughing or sneezing. However, these droplets can also contaminate surfaces and objects, including human hands. Someone might unknowingly get the virus by touching infected surfaces and then touching their nose, eyes, or mouth. Keeping up with proper hand hygiene is essential for stopping the spread of the flu.
Norovirus, often called the “stomach bug,” is a highly contagious virus that primarily causes stomach and intestinal inflammation, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Norovirus is a common cause of gastroenteritis outbreaks in community settings such as schools, nursing homes, and cruise ships. The virus can be quickly spread through the fecal-oral route, typically because of inadequate hand hygiene.
Because food contamination is another prevalent cause of norovirus, practicing proper hand hygiene when handling food when handling food is of the utmost importance.
Staphylococcus, commonly referred to as “staph,” is a group of bacteria that can cause various infections, from minor skin infections to serious, life-threatening conditions. Staph bacteria are ubiquitous on human skin and often don’t cause any damage. However, they may cause infections if they enter the body via a wound or abrasion. These germs may also stick around on our skin if we don’t wash our hands properly. We might then transfer the harmful germs into our system if we touch a wound, our eyes, or our nose without first washing our hands.
Practicing good hand hygiene is a straightforward, effective method to prevent the spread of staph infections. It’s a small action that can have a huge effect on our health and the health of those around us.
Conjunctivitis, sometimes known as “pink eye,” is another disease spread by unwashed hands. Infectious germs and viruses are often to blame for this annoying eye ailment, and they spread from person to person via dirty hands. All it takes is touching a germ-infested surface and then absentmindedly rubbing your eye—voilà, you’ve just rolled out the red carpet for pink eye.
This stuff disperses rapidly in close quarters such as homes, schools, and workplaces. The next time you’re tempted to skip the soap, think about the menace of pink eye and hum “Happy Birthday” as you scrub your hands.
Proper hand hygiene is crucial to stopping these common infections you can spread from dirty hands. It goes a long way in keeping you healthy, and you’re also keeping everyone around you safe. We can all do our part by taking 30 seconds to thoroughly wash our hands of anything nefarious.