“The Power is in your Hands”… Global Hand Washing day is today, October 15th, but practicing hand hygiene daily with soap helps reduce the risk of transmitting disease. Hands are vectors that carry disease-causing pathogens from person to person either through direct contact or indirectly by touching hard surfaces. The guiding vision of Global Hand Washing Day is a local and global culture of hand washing with soap. People from around the world wash their hands with water, but very few use soap at the most critical moments such as, using the restroom, handling food, sneezing, etc.. Washing hands with water alone is not enough. Hand washing requires soap and water. Soap helps break down the grease and dirt that carry most germs, while the rubbing and friction during hand washing helps rinse away the disease causing germs.
Hand washing with soap can prevent diseases that kill millions of children each year. Hand washing with soap is the most effective way to prevent diarrhea diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the majority of childhood deaths. Hand washing with soap can also prevent skin infections, eye infections, intestinal worms, MRSA, SARS, Avian Flu and benefits the health of people in healthcare facilities in reducing HAI’s (Healthcare Acquired Infections).
When should you wash your hands:
- Before, during and after handling food
- Before eating food
- After using the restroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the restroom
- After touching an animal, animal food or animal waste
- After touching trash
More information how clean hands can save lives, visit http://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/.
What is the right way to wash your hands?
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap.
- Rub your hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Stop for a moment and think, Hand washing is the “vaccine” that prevents infections. Because hand washing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens, it may be more effective than any single vaccine. The challenge is how to transform individual thinking to “hand washing with soap” from an abstract “good idea” into an automatic behavior. Incorporating this “good idea” into our habits daily could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.
Krysten Comperchio is a Product Manager for Skin Care and Education at Betco Corporation®. During her spare time, Krysten enjoys running, cycling and keeping up on current events. Click here to contact Krysten directly.