Your hands are loaded with different bacteria some good and some bad, so it is essential to keep your hands clean by washing them frequently. Bacteria may live harmlessly on your hands till passed on into your system through your eyes, nose and mouth, or through a wound or cut in the skin. So it is crucial that you make it a habit to avoid touching any part of your face frequently and washing your hands or using sanitizers when you come from outside.
The main pathogenic bacteria which are more likely to be found on the hands are Staphylococcus, Corynebacteria, Streptococcus, E coli, Myobacteria, and Haemophilus, all in different concentrations. These bacteria are also found in other parts of the body like nose, eyes, mouth, gut and vagina, though the rate of incidence might vary.
The first two types of bacteria are pathogens that are responsible for causing a large part of bacterial infections in humans. These are found in almost all parts of the human body, transmitted mainly from nasal membranes to other hosts. Staphylococcus cause boils, urinary tract infections and in serious cases food poisoning. Corynebacteria is commonly known to cause acne, and also associated with diptheria and more commonly in people using prosthetic devices.
Different Streptococcus strains cause varied infections affecting the throat, lungs, in case of pneumonia, are responsible for causing dental caries, and can seriously damage the heart and kidney also.
E coli is a type of bacteria found on your hands and commonly in the gut. They are potential cause of conditions like urinary tract infections, intestinal infections and meningitis. Most Haemophilus bacteria survive in a host without causing an infection. They usually cause secondary infection after a bout of viral infection which weakens the immune system. It is also the leading cause of meningitis.
People are prone to infection especially in humid and warm conditions as it promotes the growth of bacteria. Washing hands does not kill the bacteria but absence of dirt and food on your hands makes it difficult for bacteria to live on hands longer. Growth of bacteria also varies from person to person and may depend on the work and living environment. Not all bacteria that are found on the hands are bad. Some prevent the growth of pathogenic bacteria and may serve as a line of defense.
It is generally difficult to identify the different strains of bacteria that survive on your hands. The growth of bacteria can be detected by transferring bacteria (by touching) on agar plates and incubate at 37 degrees centigrade for 24 hours.