Spread the Word: October 15th is Global Handwashing Day!

It is important for every person to know that washing your hands with soap can be lifesaving. Washing your hands can prevent people from getting sick and from spreading diseases, yet not nearly enough people actually wash their hands. For this reason The Global Handwashing Day seeks to promote the act of washing your hands and the proper ways to do it.

The Global Handwashing Day is a campaign initiated in 2008 by the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW). The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness around the world about the importance of washing your hands with soap. Every year there are over 200 million people in over 100 countries that participate in the Global Handwashing Day.

So why is washing your hands with soap so important? Thoroughly washing your hands can prevent the spread of waterborne diseases and acute respiratory infections.  Diarrhea and other diseases like cholera and typhoid are transmitted when a person drinks or eats something that has been contaminated. Bacterial infections can be anywhere, which means that hand washing before and after handling food, after using the toilet, and after handling garbage is vital and will prevent many infections.

Washing your hands can decrease the risk of waterborne diseases by 20% and the risk of respiratory infection by 25%. While there needs to be a conscious effort by everyone to wash their hands well, it is especially important for those in countries that lack effective water treatment and sewage infrastructure. Poor sanitation and a lack of clean, safe water increases the probability of infection spreading, making it paramount that all adults and children wash their hands with soap. The goal of the Global Handwashing Day is to remind people about the importance of hand washing and to promote hand washing in places where it is not a common practice. Please take some time on October 15th to spread the word about hand washing, support a group that actively works to promote hygiene, or simply remember to wash your own hands with soap.

 Don’t forget to always wash your hands…:

  • Before, during, and after you prepare, touch, or eat food.
  • After you use the toilet.
  • After you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose.
  • After you touch or clean up after an animal.
  • After you handle garbage.

Proper way to wash your hands:

  1. Make sure you run your hands through water until they are wet.
  2. Rub soap all over your hands, in between your fingers, under your nails, and the back of your hands.
  3. Continue rubbing your hands with soap for approximately 30 seconds.
  4. Rinse your hands with water and dry them with a clean towel.