Global Handwashing Day 2021: Proper, regular washing of hands saves lives

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Global Handwashing Day 2021: Proper, regular washing of hands saves life

Global Handwashing Day 2021: Proper, regular washing of hands saves lives

Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to advocating for handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Global Handwashing Day is celebrated every year on October 15th.

The day is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding the benefits of handwashing, the 2021 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together.”

Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership and is an opportunity to design test and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008 when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since 2008, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing, build sinks and provide clean running water in public places to demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands.

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After that, Global Handwashing Day has continued to grow, the day is endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, individuals, and more.

Global Handwashing Day try to ensure people understand the importance of hand hygiene to stay safe and healthy.

The importance of handwashing has also increased tenfold since the Covid-19 outbreak, with personal hygiene being critical to people’s well being. Making this a part of one’s daily routine has saved many lives while also preventing viral infections and the flu.

It is critical to understand that germs accumulate on hands after a little touch on surfaces throughout the day. These germs can be spread to others or infect oneself by touching the eyes, nose, or mouth.

Although it is impossible for a person to keep their hands completely germ-free, Hand washing is the first line of defence against the spread of various illnesses, ranging from the common cold to severe infections like meningitis, bronchiolitis, the flu, hepatitis A, and different types of diarrhea.

Though there is no fixed hand washing schedule, hands should be severely washed after food preparation/consumption, taking care of a sick person or treating wounds, wearing or taking off contact lenses, using the restroom and sneezing, coughing amongst others.

According to recent research by Wateraid, every year, 443 million school days are lost worldwide due to water-related illnesses and lack of hand hygiene. According to the National Health Mission, thousands of children in developing countries die yearly due to diarrhoea, which according to UNICEF, can be reduced by 40% by simply washing hands.

Hence, it has become very necessary to establish sanitary habits in childhood to ensure that healthy decisions and actions are made throughout one’s life. To get rid of those germs, which in turn decrease the number of people with gastrointestinal problems by 29-57% and ensure a 58% reduction in the number of people with weakened immune systems.

Proper and regular handwashing also help to cut down respiratory illnesses and infections by 16-21%.

Proper ways to wash hands

  • Wet your hands with either cold or warm running water.
  • Lather your hands up using soap, probably liquid.
  • For about 20 seconds, rub your hands together. Scrub the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and under your fingernails, among other places.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Pat dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.
  • Hand soap and water are preferable to hand sanitiser, during the unavailability of soap and water you can use an alcohol-based sanitiser, this is because hand sanitisers containing alcohol are effective against some viruses but not against gastroenteritis, which requires squeaky clean hands using soap and water.

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