Washing your hands seems like a simple task, but you will be surprised how many people don’t do it properly enough. That’s why October 15th is celebrated as Global Handwashing Day. It’s an initative to spread awareness around this simple, yet often forgotten task.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, handwashing has become all the more important. According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, 40% of the world’s population does not have access to basic handwashing facilities. If we want to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19, the simple act of washing our hands properly can go a long way.
Hand Hygiene and Its Importance
Thanks to COVID-19, hand hygiene has been recognized as a vital way to stay healthy and safe. Now, even in remote parts of the country, there is access to hygiene products like soap and sanitizers. However, a large portion of the country still does not have access to clean water. That large gap in access is responsible for the transmission of diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, norovirus, and a variety of other infections.
Even in metro cities, handwashing isn’t practiced properly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person should wash their hands for at least 15 seconds to get rid of contamination on the skin. Less than that duration, and you could still have infections on your hands, that you can then transmit to others.
It is also extremely important before you eat to wash your hands. A report by the National Statistical Office found that only 60.4% of households practice washing their hands prior to a meal. Without adequate hand hygiene, a person is likely to be infected from fecal-borne diseases such as E-coli infection, enteroviruses and tapeworms.
Prioritizing Hand Hygiene
Remember that it is very important to ensure you wash your hands whenever possible. Here are some important instances though when it is absolutely necessary:
- When you are done using the washroom.
- Before and after cooking or consuming food.
- After handling a sick person or any of their clothes/personal items.
- Once you are done touching any tools/machines that you use outside for gardening or cleaning.
- After handling all pets.
It’s not enough to just wash your hands for 15 seconds. You should know that it is important for your handwashing routine to include soap. The same National Statistical Office report found that just 35.8% of individuals use soap when washing their hands. Soap is extremely important, as it helps kill any germs. Also remember to wash your hands in warm water if possible, as that along with soap is the best-known germ-buster.
Another important tip to remember when handwashing, is to rub your hands vigorously and scrub between your fingers. That way, you will cover your entire hand and remove any germs that could be hidden.
If you don’t have access to soap and water, especially when you are outside, you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer. Only use an alcohol-based one, since alcohol is an effective germ killer. However, sanitizers cannot be treated as a substitute for handwashing with water and soap. Use a sanitizer only if you must, but the moment you return home, remember to wash your hands with soap.
Spreading Awareness About Handwashing
Even if your team is working remotely, it’s a good idea to spend some time to spread awareness about the importance of hand hygiene. You can do so through –
We at Onsurity care about not just our employees, but everyone else. That’s why we have decided to help spread awareness on Global Handwashing Day. We believe that health should come first, which is why we have built an employee healthcare plan for employees and customers of SMEs and start-ups. To find out more, visit our website.