Last Updated on November 17, 2020
1. You can develop a serious respiratory illness
Do you remember when you were a kid, and your mom kept telling you to wash your hands, or else you were going to be sick? Well, she wasn’t lying.
If you neglect to wash your hands properly, you can suffer all sorts of respiratory problems, from the common flu to pneumonia, and even mouth, hand, and foot disease (yes, those are respiratory illnesses as well!).
Washing your hands can prevent is a great way to avoid those diseases, and it has been proved that it can decrease your chance of contracting a respiratory illness by as much as 21 percent.
2. You might get diarrhea
People who don’t wash their hands are more prone to conditions that involve diarrhea. Feces are filled with viruses and bacteria, and if you don’t wash your hands properly after you use the bathroom, those viruses and bacteria can attach themselves to your hands, and you may end up infecting other people.
E. coli 0157 and salmonella are just some of the diseases you can get from something as simple as poor hand hygiene – so be sure to wash your hands and to promote handwashing to everyone close to you.
3. You can give and get food poisoning
Washing your hands properly and frequently is a key factor in preventing food poisoning, especially when you are cooking. Vegetables who have dirt on them, eggs, and raw meat can carry all sorts of harmful bacteria, and if you don’t handle them properly, there is a chance of cross-contamination, which can make you sick, as well as whoever eats your food. Be sure to wash your hands properly and to wash all the ingredients thoroughly as well.
4. You might infect someone else
Your hands touch everything, from your phone to your work laptop to the elevator button on your building and every doorknob in the city. And after you, other people will touch the same objects.
Unknowingly, you might be infecting them with some contagious virus you carry in your hands. You must wash your hands for your safety and the safety of everyone else. Plus, you should always avoid touching your face, especially your mouth, your nose, and your eyes – you never know who touched the same objects as you.
5. You can be a risk for people with weak immune systems
Not washing your hands increases the risk of exposure to harmful infections, but it also increases the risk of infecting others, especially people with vulnerable immune systems.
Infants, older people, and people who already have subjacent health conditions are more likely to get sick from the bacteria we carry in our hands. Touching surfaces, touching food, and touching shared items can pose a risk for you and the people around you. Be extra careful and think of everyone else – wash your hands!
6. You might be paving the way for antibiotic resistance
A huge number of infectious diseases can be prevented by a simple act – washing your hands. And the treatment used to tackle those infectious diseases is antibiotics, most of the time.
Well, according to CDC reports, the spread of one-third of diarrhea-related illnesses can be prevented by handwashing, and the same goes for respiratory infections since almost one-fifth can be stopped if everyone washes their hands.
The less people are infected and treated with antibiotics, the less they will become resistant to antibiotic treatments. Plus, some infections have already become antibiotic-resistant, and by washing your hands, you will also be preventing the contamination of people with those hard-to-treat diseases.
7. You might be trusting hand sanitizer too much
Yes, hand sanitizer is a great alternative for when you are on the subway, or at the supermarket, but if water and soap are available, hand sanitizer shouldn’t be your first choice.
Soap is the main sponsor of killing the germs and bacteria on your hands! But, all the friction involved is what makes hand washing extra effective.
However, you should make sure that you actually know how to wash your hands. You will need soap, of course, and lots of it, and you need to do it properly – make sure you scrub in between your fingers and do not forget to wash the back of your hands as well.
You should spend at least twenty seconds washing your hands – which is the same amount of time that will take you to sing the chorus for “Macarena” – nice trick, uh?