Keep ’em clean, it’s Global Handwashing Day!

Health

(WHTM) — Created by The Global Handwashing Partnership in 2008, Global Handwashing Day seeks to raise awareness that washing your hands with soap and water is one of the simplest, cheapest, and most effective ways way to save lives by preventing the spread of disease.

We were all forcefully reminded of the importance of handwashing when COVID-19 infections started to ramp up last year. Instructions on how to properly wash your hands appeared in restrooms all across the country. But health officials have known for years that handwashing can cut down infections from a lot of diseases from the common cold to the flu, meningitis, bronchiolitis, hepatitis A, and different types of diarrhea.

(According to UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, over 1.5 million children under age 5 die each year from diarrhea. Handwashing with soap can reduce this risk by over 40%.)

So, when should you soap up? This is a case where you can’t do it too often. You should wash your hands both before and after preparing and eating food, taking care of a sick person, treating wounds, and putting on or taking off contact lenses.

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Wash after using the restroom, sneezing, or coughing. (Sneezing is more spectacular, but coughing can spread just as many germs.)

What’s the correct way to wash your hands (since chances are you’re doing it incorrectly)?

  1. Wet your hands with either cold or warm running water.
  2. Lather up your hands with soap — lots of soap.
  3. Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. (More is better, especially if you’ve just used the restroom or blown your nose or if your hands are visibly dirty.) Scrub the backs of your hands, the palms of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails. Don’t forget to work your way up to your wrists.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Dry your hands with a clean towel or let them air dry.

For more information from the Global Handwashing Partnership, click here.

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