On 15th of October the world celebrates Global Handwashing Day. It may sound weird to dedicate the whole day to the natural and routine process of our life. But the problem of dirty hands may be more serious than you have thought. This day is to remind that diarrhea and various illnesses are transmitted through unclean hands.
If you wash hands when it is needed, you reduce the chances to get diarrhea and respiratory illnesses in several times. Many people are mistaken when think that this is a problem of the third-world countries. In the civilized world and developed countries, there are many cases of getting norovirus just because of bad hand hygiene.
In order to make people aware of the importance of handwashing with soap, Global Handwashing Day was established by the Center for Disease Control all over the world. This is a way to support the culture of handwashing and cleanliness.
Did you know that millions of people do not have access to soap? Unfortunately, it is true. In some countries soap is among the scarce goods, so often the population washes their hands only with water, saving soap for bathing or laundry.
Another point is that there are people, who just do not have a hands washing like a habit, and this must be a reflexive action.
According to the Center for Disease, dirty hands is one of the reasons children die under the age of 5 – they get ill of diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Children should be taught to wash their hands with soap as soon as possible. It may essentially reduce the number of young children getting sick and their death for 50 per cent. So just a little bar of soap may save somebody’s life. This is why the Center for Disease Control offers activities to make the process of learning to wash hands more interesting for children, for example, songs, dances and video demonstrations about handwashing.
There are some important rules everyone should know about hands hygiene.
First of all, wash your hands with running water. It is rather dangerous to wash your hands in a basin of standing water, because it may be contaminated through previous use. For this purpose, it is even possible to use non-potable water. Moreover, the temperature of the water does not influence the removal of microbes. However, it is better to use warm or cold water as hot water may cause skin irritation.
Microbes cover the all surface of hands; especially they are many under the nails. You need to lather and scrub your hands paying special attention to the backs of your palms, nails and places between fingers. The time of scrubbing is at least 20 seconds to remove microbes effectively.
To avoid skin irritation from soap rinse your hand with clean, running water. Once again, do not use a basin of standing water in order not to re-contaminate your hands.
After washing the hands, dry them with a towel an air drier. Germs transfer from and to wet hands more easily.
And the last piece of advice from the CDC – use an alcohol-based sanitizer to clean your hands from germs immediately.