GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY
Global Handwashing Day is observed every year on October 15th. The day reminds people around the world to wash their hands with soap.
You might not think that by merely washing your hands with soap, you could be saving a life. It seems like such a mundane thing to do. It’s something your parents or teachers have drilled into your head for years. “Remember to wash your hands.” That’s because washing your hands, with soap of course, is the best way to get rid of germs.
How do these germs get on your hands? Bacteria and viruses are everywhere but are especially prevalent in animal and human feces. It sounds gross, but it’s essential. Feces gets on the hands in a variety of ways, from changing diapers to handling raw meats with invisible poop on it. When germs from feces get on the hands, it can spread diseases like norovirus and hand-foot-mouth disease. One gram of human feces contains one trillion germs. Yikes! No wonder it’s always a good idea to wash your hands with soap!
Of course, there are other ways to get germs on your hands, like covering your mouth with your hand while coughing or touching a contaminated object. When you don’t wash away these germs right away, you easily pass them on to someone else. You also end up touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, which is how germs get inside the body. When your unwashed hands touches food, handrails, bathroom doors, etc. you’re passing your germs around. So please, wash your hands with soap, because it really does prevent infection. You don’t have to wash your hands 100 times a day, but you should wash them:
- After using the bathroom
- Before and after preparing food
- Before eating
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
Practicing handwashing really does prevent infection and helps everyone stay healthy. This is especially true of children. Sadly, nearly 2 million children under the age of 5 die each year due to diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Of course, handwashing with soap won’t save every child from these contagious diseases. However, it could possibly protect 1 out of 3 from getting a diarrheal disease and 1 out of 5 with pneumonia and other respiratory infections.
HOW TO OBSERVE #GlobalHandwashingDay
Hopefully, you already wash your hands with soap throughout the day. But do you wash your hands the right way? Global Handwashing Day is a great day to make sure you’re doing it right. Check out these video demonstrations if you’re not sure. Teach your children to wash their hands the right way, too. If you’re a business owner, put up handwashing posters in your restrooms. Spread handwashing awareness on social media by using #GlobalHandwashingDay.
GLOBAL HANDWASHING DAY HISTORY
The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) established Global Handwashing Day in 2008. The primary focus of the first Global Handwashing Day was school children. The GHP was formed in 2001 and includes government agencies, corporations, academic institutions, and multilateral organizations. This coalition of international stakeholders works to promote handwashing with soap as a way to improve health around the world.
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