Why Do We Wash Our Hands Before Eating?

There are some rules that we all heard time and time again as kids. No dessert until after your food, don’t chew with your mouth open, and always wash your hands before eating. It turns out that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents were on to something where the handwashing rule was concerned. We know that even as adults, we can sometimes forget to wash our hands at work before lunch or might skip the antibacterial soap and just give them a rinse after petting the dog and before grabbing a snack – but we really shouldn’t! Why not? Dirty hands can’t be that bad, can they? Actually, dirty hands are a big problem, especially where food is concerned! Here’s why it’s important for both kids and adults to always wash their hands before eating.

Washing your hands before eating a meal is a simple and effective method of infection prevention. When you eat without washing your hands, the bacteria and germs that are left on your fingers and palms can be transferred to the inside of your mouth. This can cause illnesses and infections. For example, sore throats are often associated with not washing your hands before eating, as the bacteria travels down the windpipe along with your food. Other common illnesses which can arise from poor handwashing habits before eating include diarrhoea, laryngitis, coughs, colds, and stomach bugs. So, properly washing hands before you eat can help protect against germs and minimise the chances of you and your family picking up these illnesses. If you’re the one who is preparing the food for people, it is even more important that you wash your hands properly before eating as well as before starting to cook or chop up food.

Washing hands before eating is also a great general rule to follow (along with handwashing after going to the bathroom) as it means most of us who are lucky enough to have regular meals are likely to properly wash our hands with warm water at least a few times a day. This can help prevent us from catching infections, but it’s not just yourself that it can help. Washing your hands thoroughly is beneficial for the rest of the population too, because it also really helps to prevent germs spreading from us to others, especially if we are already sick and want to try our best not to give anybody else our cold or flu!