A habit as simple as washing hands with soap can prevent the spread of lethal diseases among children such as pneumonia, diarrhea and hemolytic uremic syndrome, AIM recorded. Every October 15th, World Handwashing Day is celebrated and this year’s theme is: “United for Universal Hand Hygiene”.
On World Handwashing Day, which is celebrated at the initiative of Unicef in more than 60 developing countries, specialists agree that this practice is one of the most important hygienic behaviors when it comes to reducing the risk of contagion with viruses and bacteria.
The importance of washing hands
Prevents diarrheal diseases.
Reduces the transmission of respiratory diseases.
Reduces the incidence of skin diseases.
Fights eye infections such as trachoma.
Reduces the incidence of intestinal infections such as ascariasis and trichuriasis.
When should we wash our hands?
Prepare food or eat it.
Treat a wound or care for someone who is sick.
Put on or take off contact lenses.
Go to the bathroom.
Blow your nose, sneeze or cough.
Handle raw food, especially meat.
Caring for someone who is sick or for newborn babies.
Touching animals or handling their droppings.
Do sports or gymnastics.
Go to a public place: hospitals, schools, among others.
The purpose of World Handwashing Day is to mobilize and motivate millions of inhabitants of the planet to wash their hands with soap and water.
Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to prevent, among others, diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which combined kill an estimated 3.5 million children each year.
Children are especially vulnerable to diseases caused by inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices. More than 5,000 children under the age of five die daily as a result of diarrheal diseases, due in part to contaminated water, lack of basic sanitation facilities and poor hygiene practices.
By washing hands with soap and water, families and communities can help reduce childhood morbidity rates from diarrheal diseases by almost half.
To achieve such decline, as well as large-scale, community-responsive and sustainable changes, it is essential that partnerships be established with national and local governments, international and non-governmental organizations, religious and community leaders, schools and the private sector.
School is an ideal environment to spread the habit. Children who learn good hygiene practices at school can become agents of change by spreading the messages they have learned to members of their families and communities.
This hygienic practice, especially when carried out after going to the bathroom or before eating, can have important positive effects on health and survival, and help reduce the rate of childhood mortality and poverty.
How to wash your hands correctly
Here are some simple steps to remove germs from our hands. Demonstrate this routine to her child – or better yet, wash your hands with her child several times a day so he/she learns the importance of this habit.
Wash your hands with warm water. Make sure the water is not too hot for little hands
Use soap and rub your hands together vigorously for 15-20 seconds (you don’t have to use anti-bacterial soap, any soap is fine). Make sure you thoroughly wash the area between your fingers and under your fingernails where germs love to hide. Don’t forget the dolls! Rinse your hands and dry them well with a clean, dry towel.
The motto for 2022 is “United for universal hand hygiene”
It is an opportunity to learn, design, replicate and share creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap and water at critical times, at home, in the community and around the world.