According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing with soap and water could cut foodborne disease and diarrheal disease-related deaths by up to 50%.
Contaminated hands are responsible for a majority of foodborne disease outbreaks. According to the CDC, about one in every six Americans gets sick each year, and 3,000 people die due to foodborne diseases.
What could be responsible for this high mortality rate? Are people not washing their hands enough? Are the washing hands stations not up to standard?
First, let’s answer the critical question.
Is A Separate Hand Washing Sink Required
Yes, a separate hand washing sink is required. If you operate a mini restaurant, you need at least two hand washing sinks. Larger restaurants may require three or more sinks.
The use of multiple handwashing sink is essential to prevent possible food contamination from the food workers’ hands. Furthermore, a separate hand washing sink encourages proper hand washing, which is necessary for the elimination of disease causing organisms.
Keep reading to know more!
How Does Hand Washing Prevent Sickness?
Hand washing is one proven method to prevent the spread of infection. By simply washing your hands, you may avoid spreading germs from one place to another. You will also prevent people from becoming ill.
However, it turns out that persuading people to wash their hands hasn’t always been easy. Therefore, CDC made it a legal obligation for commercial kitchens and restaurants to install separate hand washing sinks in their outlets.
Once potentially toxic substances are transferred to the hands, it is easy for them to be transferred to the mouth, eyes, and nose if they are touched. Indeed, you can avoid a significant number of infections by following strict hand washing hygiene practices.
Viruses and bacteria, in particular, pose a serious threat since they are frequently located on the human body’s surface and require a host cell to thrive and reproduce.
Frequent handwashing is essential to remove these foodborne infections and other ailments from spreading. In all, it lowers the danger of a food handler or chef transferring bacteria to the product and becoming infected with a virus.
When Should You Wash Your Hands?
After using the restroom:
The most crucial time to wash your hands is immediately after using the toilet. The bacteria transmitted by the fecal-oral pathway can cause many illnesses, including the virus hepatitis A.
After touching the mouth:
You should also wash your hands after eating, drinking, smoking, coughing, or sneezing, among other things.
When handling food:
As a rule of thumb, hands should be washed every hour while working with food. In addition, handwashing is necessary before touching food.
It’s also advisable for food handlers to wash their hands after cleaning cutlery, utensils, dishes, or cleaning supplies. Most times, the surfaces of these everyday items can be a source of contamination.
After changing gloves:
Most times, gloves can create the false impression of protection by assuming their hands are clean. The issue with using gloves is that they are typically seen as a barrier to food contamination.
You can carry out many activities while wearing the same gloves you used while preparing meals. These activities include wiping counters, money handling, and emptying trash cans.
However, these gloves create a warm and moist environment for microorganisms. Thus, bacteria on your skin will multiply faster when you wear these gloves for an extended period without frequent changing and hand washing.
Therefore, it is always advisable to wash your hands thoroughly after pulling your gloves to eliminate food residue or debris from equipment handling.
What Are The Materials For Hand washing?
You’ll need a sufficient amount of hot and cold running water, non-scented soap in appropriate dispensers, and hand drying methods. For example, you can use paper towels from a dispenser, cabinet roller towels, or hand dryers.
However, it’s not appropriate to use hand dryers in locations where food is prepared.
How Should You Wash Your Hands?
To avoid getting sick and transmitting germs, the CDC recommends that you wash your hands in a certain way. You can follow the practical hand washing steps below.
Step 1: Wet your hands with clean, running water
The flowing water can be warm or cold, about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This pre-rinse should remove the majority of contaminants from your hands and ready them to accept soap.
Step 2: Lather your hands with soap.
You’ll most likely spend more time in this stage than in the other steps. First, scrub your hands together, being sure to get between your fingers and under your fingernails.
Microbes can be found on all hand areas, especially under the nails and forearms. While lathering and scrubbing hands, you’ll create friction, which helps remove dirt, grease, and bacteria off the skin.
So, for how long should you scrub? First, you should wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Do you require a timer? Then play or hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice from beginning to end.
Step 3: Rinse your hands thoroughly
This step is critical because it prepares the hands for sanitizer application. However, sanitizer may not be effective if soap residue is left on the hands.
So, rinse your hands well because excess soap on the hands may neutralize the sanitizer’s effects.
Step 4: Dry your hands thoroughly
You can use a soft towel to dry your hands. After wiping your hands, use a clean paper towel to turn off the taps and open the door.
It is not advisable to use a shared or common towel to dry hands after washing them.
Step 5: Apply the hand sanitizer
Before applying the hand sanitizer, make sure your hands are thoroughly dry. Remember, soap residue on the hands can neutralize the sanitizer’s effects.
Common Hand washing Mistakes
Although it has been established that hand washing is an excellent technique of preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria, most people unconsciously make mistakes during hand washing.
As a result, even healthcare professionals wash and sanitize their hands less often as they should. Here are the most common blunders of hand washing.
Irregular hand washing:
Every day,your hands touch many objects that may expose you to pathogens and toxins. For example, you may pick up microorganisms with your fingers and unconsciously transmit them into your body.
If you don’t wash your hands often, you might likely harbor these germs, resulting in severe illness and maybe death.
Hand washing becomes little more than getting your hands wet if you don’t use enough soap. Use a considerable quantity of soap after wetting your hands with warm or cold water. After applying the soap, lather it up for a few seconds on your hands.
You’ll create friction while rubbing your hands together, which helps remove grease, grime, and bacteria from your hands’ surface.
In contrast, using a lot of soap can be harmful. For example, if you put too much soap on your hands and don’t rinse it off thoroughly, your skin will become irritated later in the day.
Don’t compromise on the final step by not thoroughly rinsing your hands after spending so much time scrubbing them clean.
Hold your hands under running water until you’ve removed all of the soap from your hands. Removing any surplus soap can also minimize any irritation your hands may experience while getting too dry.
Dependence on hand sanitizers alone:
While hand sanitizer might assist in eliminating germs when you don’t have access to a full hand wash, it shouldn’t be your primary source of germ protection.
According to the CDC, alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t eliminate all types of germs. For example, hand sanitizers cannot kill stomach bugs and Parasites that cause severe diarrhea.
Furthermore, these sanitizers may fail to eliminate potentially dangerous substances such as pesticides or heavy metals.
Not giving proper attention to the fingernails:
Even if you wash your hands for the full 20 seconds, your hand washing procedure will be incomplete if you don’t clean your fingernails.
Germs and bacteria can quickly become lodged beneath your fingernails. So, you’re transmitting germs one way or the other if you touch your face, toilet bowls, or chew on your nails.
Handwashing is a proven method to minimize the spread of infection. Therefore, it’s critical to implement strategies that promote a hygiene-focused environment. One of these strategies is having a separate hand washing sink.
If you follow the rules of consistent hand washing practices while using your separate hand washing sink, you’re sure to live a germ-free life.
Although hand sanitizers are available, hand washing is the most effective technique to avoid disease and live healthily.
However, if you think your hand washing stations aren’t up to par, then it’s time to set up a separate hand washing sink.