Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day is an annual celebration founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap in 2008. This celebration was founded to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap and highlight the state of handwashing around the world. Since 2008, Global Handwashing Day has been celebrated annually on October 15 by over 200 million people in over 100 countries.

Handwashing is an extremely important habit that can fight many diseases and prevent spreading germs to others. The act of washing one’s hand is extremely important, especially before or after specific activities, like after using the restroom, after playing sports, after playing with pets and before cooking meals.

Teaching individuals on how to wash hands and informing them about the importance of handwashing is extremely vital for their and others’ health. The act of teaching how to wash hands safely and effectively can reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by about 30%, reduce diarrheal illness in people with HIV by about 50% and reduce respiratory illnesses, like cold, in the general population by about 20%.

Diseases such as salmonella which can cause a variety of health issues like typhoid fever and gastroenteritis can occur due to improper hygiene and can be easily avoided if hands are properly washed and cleaned.

“Global Handwashing Day is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times,” according to Global Handwashing Day’s website.

Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands. This helps prevent infections because people frequently touch their skin including their eyes, nose and mouth without even realizing it themselves. Germs can enter the body through eyes, nose and mouth and make us ill.

Germs from unwashed hands can get into consumable items such as foods and drinks when they cook them or eat them. Germs can even reproduce and spread in specific types of foods or drinks, under special conditions, which can worsen the situation and make people severely ill.

Germs and bacteria from dirty hands can be transmitted to other objects, like handrails, tabletops or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands, which makes it easy to get an infection even if one’s hands were clean initially.

Removing germs through handwashing, therefore, helps prevent diarrhea, flu and respiratory infections and may even help prevent eye and skin infections.

One should know how to wash one’s hands properly. These tips can certainly help a person in learning how to wash their hands properly.

  • The first step is to wet the hands. One should always wet one’s hands with clean, running water which can be either warm or cold, it doesn’t matter. After one has wetted one’s hand, stop the tap and apply the soap.
  • The next step is applying the soap. Applying the soap to one’s hand is actually the tricky part. Many do it wrong. The correct way to do this is by lathering one’s hands by rubbing them together with the soap, and to ensure that the backs of the hands, the area between the fingers and area under the nails is completely covered with soap and properly lathered.
  • After the soap has been applied, the next step is to wait. No seriously! You need to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Cannot seem to keep the time accurately? Need a timer? Well, I’ve got you covered, just hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice, and you’re good to go.
  • The next step is to wash your hands. This is trickier than it sounds. There is always the possibility of not washing one’s hands properly because one may not be paying attention to the task at hand or by being in a hurry. Always remember to rinse your hands well under clean, running water and ensure that the soap has been completely washed off.
  • Now comes the fun part: Drying your hands. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. Take your time with the step.
  • Washing hands using water and soap is the best way to fight off germs on them. What if you don’t have access to soap or clean water? If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in most situations, but hand sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs and might not even remove harmful chemicals. So one should always be aware of these concerns before using them.
  • Apply the product to the palm of one hand carefully, not exceeding or underusing the amount, by reading the instructions to get the exact amount. Rub your hands together and apply it covering all parts of your hands and fingers until they are dry.

These tips are quite essential to one’s health and it’s hard to believe how a small act such as washing hands can be so crucial to fight off diseases. Global Handwashing Day will encourage more people to wash their hands and is just a friendly reminder of how much personal hygiene matters.

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