Although constantly washing your hands in hard water can cause them to become dry and irritated and may even lead to eczema, it is important to keep them clean, especially during the winter months. 

If the water in your area is particularly harsh on your hands, it is worth investing in a block salt softener, as having good hygiene is essential when there are so many bugs going around. 

Everyone learnt the importance of washing hands with soap and warm water during the pandemic when we were encouraged to regularly spend 20 seconds under the tap to prevent the spread of the virus. 

However, this advice still holds true, as Covid-19 remains among us, as well as other winter illnesses, including flu and colds. 

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains, germs spread by touching eyes, nose or mouth and preparing or eating food with unwashed hands. 

Touching surfaces that have germs on them and not cleaning them, or blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing and then touching either common objects or other people causes viruses, including Covid-19, to spread. 

It is imperative, therefore, that people wash their hands before, during and after preparing food; before and after eating; before and after caring with someone who has diarrhoea or is vomiting; before and after treating an open wound; after using the toilet and after changing a nappy. 

They also need to be washed after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; after taking out the rubbish; when handling pet food; and after you stroke a pet or pick-up animal waste.

Although hands might suffer by washing them so regularly, particularly when it is cold outside and humidity in the air is low, it will keep you safe and healthy during the winter by doing so.