It is a common adage that it takes 30 days to make a habit, and at a time when personal hygiene is more important than ever, best-practice hygiene should form part of everyone’s daily habits.
According to the research conducted by the University of New South Wales and published in 2015 by the American Journal of Infection Control (AJIC), people touch their face 23 times an hour on average, of which 10 touches are to the eyes, nose or mouth – the main pathways that can lead to bacterial or viral infection. This connection between our hands and our faces makes hand washing the most basic step in personal hygiene; the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even calls it a “do-it-yourself” vaccine, and the United Nations (UN) has, since 2008, designated October 15 as Global Handwashing Day.
In order to help people get into the habit of properly washing their hands, Samsung has, on April, launched a Hand Wash application for wearable users. The app is available for download on the Galaxy Store for Gear S3, Gear Sports, Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Watch Active21 users. Read on to learn how the app can help you engage in best-practice hand hygiene throughout the day.
While awareness has increased the importance of washing one’s hands frequently and thoroughly, opinions can differ on what ‘frequently and thoroughly’ actually means in practice. This is why Samsung has developed an app to provide a clear guide on how, and how regularly, users should be washing their hands. The Hand Wash app, discoverable by searching ‘Hand Wash’ in the Watch section of the Galaxy Store, helps users to remember to wash their hands at regularly scheduled intervals throughout the day.
So, how frequently should we be washing our hands? A 2020 study by University College London (UCL) found that handwashing 6-10 times a day was linked to a lowered infection risk. But as we go about our busy days, it is not always easy to remind ourselves to keep up with this regular washing routine.
To help you engage in regular handwashing, the Hand Wash app includes an alarm function; users can select the Reminders button to add or modify the timings of their alarms. For example, users can set an alarm that will notify them every two hours so that they can be sure to wash their hands at regular intervals. The number of alarms each user sets will then correspond to a target number on the app’s dashboard.
It takes longer than you may think to wash your hands thoroughly. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends washing your hands for at least 20 seconds – roughly the time it takes to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice. But of course, singing or humming along every time you go to wash your hands is not always practical.
This is where the countdown function of the Hand Wash comes in useful. The countdown is 25 seconds long, including 5 seconds for applying soap and 20 seconds for scrubbing. Once you receive the alarm notification that it is time to wash your hands, you can easily tap and swipe your Watch to start the counter, which will provide haptic feedback as well graphics once the timer starts. Furthermore, all Galaxy Watches are waterproof, so there is no need to remove the watch once you go to wash your hands.
While setting regular alarms is a good way to maintain your handwashing habit, of course there could be times between these intervals where other instances arise that require you to keep your hands hygienic, such as visiting the bathroom, preparing food and having a meal.
On the Hand Wash app’s dashboard, users can easily keep track of how long it has been since they last washed their hands, as well as review their daily handwashing target number and how many times they have washed their hands so far in a day. If users find themselves washing their hands before their next scheduled reminder alarm, users can just tap the ‘Wash now’ button before washing their hands to disable the upcoming alarm.
Maintaining a habit means committing to it over time – and committing to wash your hands at least 6-10 times a day is no exception.
To help build their handwashing habit, users can utilize the Hand Wash Trend Tracking function of the app, which logs each day’s handwashing occurrences and provides a weekly average.
To effectively prevent the spread of germs, the way you wash your hands is just as important as the frequency of doing so. When washing your hands, you should not only scrub your palms, but also the areas in between the fingers and the backs of the hands. The following 6 steps are a best-practice guide to ensure that you clean your hands properly and thoroughly.
1 Users are required to download the latest Watch software in order to use the Hand Wash app.