Nails are an important part of our anatomy, as they help to protect our fingers and toes from harm. Yet even though our nails do their best to look after us, why do some of us choose not to look after them?
Our nails can gather a whole multitude of dirt and germs which can lead to infections and illnesses. They can also develop problems of their own when you don’t care for them properly, so how can you make sure your nails are as healthy and hygienic as they can be?
Keep your hands clean to begin with
Hands are one of the biggest contributors to the spread of germs, particularly in the home. Without washing your hands, germs and bacteria can latch onto them and enjoy a journey from one place in the home to another. It’s scary to think that germs from the toilet can easily make their way onto food and kitchen utensils, just because people chose to skip a quick, cleansing hand wash.
Here in the UK, a monstrous 11% of us are considered to have ‘grossly contaminated’ hands. A lot of this is down to the faecal matter that is commonly found on hands, which is then very easily passed on to other surfaces, including mobile phones. It isn’t just bad habits, it can also lead to easily preventable deaths. According to research, only 53% of people washed their hands during the swine flu pandemic in 2009!
By simply washing your hands regularly, you can significantly improve your hand and nail hygiene; as well as preventing infections too, such as influenza, pneumonia and trachoma. Make the effort to wash your hands:
After going to the toilet
Before and after spending time with friends or relatives that are ill
After touching animals
After spending time outdoors
After blowing your nose
Before, during and after cooking
All it takes is a simple 20 second wash. Run warm or cold water over your hands, apply soap and rub all over your hands for at least 20 seconds to create a lather. Make sure you rinse off all of the soap before drying your hands with a clean towel or dryer.
Of course, there may be times when you struggle to locate a clean sink to wash your hands in. In this case, make sure you have some antibacterial hand wipes ‘handy’, whenever you head out. Our hand wipes clean both clean and disinfect hands, unlike many others available, so you can be sure that your hands and nails are happy and healthy on the go.
Additional ways to keep your nails healthy and hygienic
Whilst handwashing provides the basics for clean and healthy nails, there are plenty of other ways to improve the cleanliness and health of your nails.
Keep fingernails short and well manicured to reduce the amount of space that germs have to make a home in. Simply trim them to your desired length and make sure the edges are smooth and rounded off.
When washing your hands, give your nails a scrub too. There are plenty of nail brushes available in pharmacies and online that are perfect for the job. Simply add a little soap to the brush and brush underneath your nails. Rinse with warm, running water to wash away any germs or bacteria.
If you’re a nail biter, this needs to stop! Not only can biting your nails damage your teeth, it can also bring bacteria from underneath your nails into your mouth, which can then lead to infection.
Try to avoid cutting your cuticles back too far too. Whilst doing so gives a nice appearance to your nails, cuticles are important for preventing infections, so it’s worth keeping a little there to keep you and your nails healthy.
Regularly clean any nail clippers, brushes, files, or any other equipment that you use on your nails. Over time, germs and bacteria grow and develop on these items, so simply washing or wiping them with an antibacterial wash can help prevent infection.
Keeping your hands and nails healthy and hygienic is so quick and simple, it’s a wonder why so many Brits choose to skip the sink so often! By following these steps, you can feel safe knowing that you’re doing your bit to help prevent infection.