Global Handwashing Day has been celebrated on October 15th, every year since 2008. Founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, the celebration was created to raise awareness of the benefits of the activity.
While it may come naturally to many of you reading this article, not everyone does it as often as they should. This leads to the easier spreading of diarrhea, and other viruses that can lead to respiratory illnesses.
Even in the United States people don’t always practice enough hand hygiene. Food-related illnesses such as the norovirus could be better avoided if more people washed their hands before eating. Are your worried about flu season? Handwashing should be considered as basic prevention even against colds and the flu.
Teachers and parents are especially encouraged to use Global Handwashing Day as a time to educate children about the benefits of proper hand hygiene. As we all know, youngsters are more prone to contracting illnesses, and their nature doesn’t always offer them the patience to wash their hand properly. Either that or they simply forget to do so.
Even though almost everyone on the planet washes their hands at some point, not a lot of people do it properly. In developing countries, the lack of soap or even clean running water significantly reduces the positive effects of handwashing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention federal agency has already issued instructions on how and why to wash your hands properly. There are five steps to the process that should become instinctive to anyone who cares about their health.
Step 1 is wetting your hands with running water. Standing water doesn’t really help, because there is the risk of it already being contaminated, especially if it had already been used for handwashing. The water, of course, should be clean, but using non-potable water is still preferred to not washing your hands at all. It matters little if the water is hot or cold, as its temperature has no positive or negative effects on germs.
Step 2 is lathering your hands with soap. You should make sure you don’t miss any sport, and that you don’t ignore the back of your hands.
Step 3 is scrubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds.
Step 4 is rinsing your hands. Again, clean and running water are preferred.
Step 5 is drying your hands with clean towels, or by air drying. None of the two methods is better than the other.
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