Take a close look at the patch of skin on your hands, would you be surprised if I told you there’s an estimated 1,500 bacteria per square centimeter of skin on your hand? Yes, even though you had a bath this morning.

Hence, it is for this reason that washing and drying your hands thoroughly with a clean towel or air dryer is of utmost importance. Consider below additional reasons why you should make this a good habit.

1. Germs Are There Even When You Can’t See Them

Germs are microscopic and not visible to the naked eye; hence, they are always present even when you can’t see them. Germs reside on most every object you can think of – cell phones, surfaces, even your toothbrush!

They can be transferred from contaminated objects to your hands when you touch them, and also from handling raw meat, poultry, using the toilet or changing a diaper, coughing, sneezing, and after contact with pets.

2. Germs Make You Sick

Germs are pathogenic. This means that they cause disease in humans. Once inside the body, the germs avoid the body’s immune system and are capable of producing toxins that make you sick. The most common causes of germs that cause food poisoning are bacteria, viruses and parasites; and reactions to these germs can range from mild gastric discomfort and diarrhea to death.

3. Washing Your Hands Prevents the Spread of Germs

Washing your hands is the most effective method of preventing the spread of disease. Hence, properly washing your hands removes the dirt and germs that can be spread to others. Also, because you use your hands in different ways – like handling food, touching your eyes, nose and mouth; it is important to keep them clean since contact with these things can cause illness when they gain access inside the body.

One of the chief ways of preventing disease is to always wash your hands before eating, handling raw meat and poultry, after using the toilet, and after touching anything that may be soiled or have a high probability of being contaminated with germs. Beyond this, it also helps to prevent the spread of skin and eye infections. In fact, the simple act of hand-washing can help prevent the spread of bacteria such as:

  • MRSA – a type of superbug that can cause serious infections and are difficult to treat due to their resistance to antibiotics.
  • Clostridium difficile – antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can cause serious diarrhea and stomach pain.
  • E. coli – pathogenic strains of these bacteria cause intestinal disease, urinary tract infections, and meningitis.
  • Salmonella – causes the illness salmonellosis, which results in nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

4. It’s One of the Cheapest Ways To Stay Healthy

Washing and drying your hands is a simple preventative measure that can be taken to help stave off illness. The healthier you are, the less likely you will have to go for expensive medical treatment at a hospital. Using a bar of soap to wash your hands is an inexpensive means of preserving your health and the health of those around you.

Proper hand-washing and drying reduces your risk of getting sick with diarrhea by one-third, and reduces your risk of getting a respiratory illness by up to twenty percent.