Sunday is Global Handwashing Day. This global advocacy day is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effect and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
Since 2008, Global Handwashing Day has been celebrated as a way to encourage children, teachers and families to get involved with this healthy habit. Few people around the world, even in the United States, use soap with water to clean their hands.
Education is provided to explain how handwashing with soap is not only simple and inexpensive, but can dramatically decrease the number of illnesses.
Germs can get onto hands after people use the toilet, change a diaper, coughing, sneezing, handling raw foods among other things. Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them.
Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, and under certain conditions can make people sick.
Germs can also be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
When these germs get onto hands and are not washed off, they can be passed from person to person and make yourself as well as other people sick. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing can prevent about 30 percent of diarrhea-related sicknesses and about 20 percent of respiratory infections.
Preventing sickness reduces the amount of antibiotics people use and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. Other diseases, like influenza, Streptococcus, salmonella, hepatitis A, norovirus and others from a long list, can be effectively prevented by proper handwashing.
While the reasons for handwashing are to avoid getting sick, handwashing should take place:
•Before, during, and after preparing food
•Before eating food
•Before and after caring for someone who is sick
•Before and after treating a cut or wound
•After using the toilet
•After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
•After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
•After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
•After handling pet food or pet treats
•After touching garbage
Proper handwashing steps include: Wetting hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and applying soap. Lather hands by rubbing them together with the soap while being sure to lather the backs of hands, between fingers, and under nails. Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel then use that towel to shut off the faucet.
Simple handwashing habits can provide good health, well-being and productivity for individuals, families and communities.