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Global Handwashing Day 2020: Understanding The Importance Of Washing Hands Frequently

Global Handwashing Day 2020: Handwashing is the simplest measure to prevent spread of infection and should be practiced by everyone. Read here to know from expert how to wash hands properly and when.

Global Handwashing Day 2020: Understanding The Importance Of Washing Hands Frequently

Global Handwashing Day 2020: Handwashing can help prevent spread of diseases

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Washing hands frequently can help fight diseases
  2. Do not miss cleaning the areas between your fingers
  3. Use an alcohol based hand sanitiser when required

Global Handwashing Day is observed on October 15 each year. This day tries to create awareness about the importance of washing hands regularly. It strives to promote handwashing as an effective, efficient and easy method to prevent diseases. Washing hands frequently helps you get rid of infection that might be present on your hands and prevents it from entering into the body. It is advised to use soap and water to wash hands properly from front, back and between the fingers. When soap and water are not available, use of alcohol based sanitizer is recommended.

Infection/ germs spread can spread from other person or surface when you

1. Touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands


2. Prepare or eat food with unwashed hands

3. Touch a contaminated surface or objects

4. Blow your nose, cough or sneeze into hands and then touch sosmeone's hands or common objects

When should you wash your hands?

1. Before, during and after preparing food

2. Before eating food

3. Before and after caring for someone sick at home

4. Before and after treating a cut or wound

5. After using toilet

6. After changing diaper or cleaning up a kid who used toilet

7. After blowing your nose, coughing and sneezing

8. After touching garbage

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Handwashing Day: Use soap and water to clean your hands properly
Photo Credit: iStock

There are five steps of hand wash

1. Wet hands with clean running water. Turn off the tap. Apply soap

2. Lather hands by rubbing them together with soap. Lather back of hands, fingers, spaces between fingers and beneath nails

3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum 'happy birthday to you' two times while scrubbing

4. Rinse your hands under clean running water

5. Dry hands using a clean dry towel or air dry them

Remember, hand washing with soap and water is the most effective way of cleaning your hands. In situations where you don't have access to soap and water, you can use hand sanitiser. Hand sanitiser should contain at least 60% alcohol. You can find this out by reading the label on the container of sanitizer. Make sure to take a handful of sanitizer and rub your hands in same way as you do while washing. Let the hands dry by themselves. This will take 20 to 30 seconds. Also keep in mind that hand sanitizer will not kill all microorganisms. Also it will not work well if hands are visibly dirty. In such cases it is better to use soap and water.

To summarize, handwashing is the cheapest and simplest measure to prevent spread of infection and should be practiced by everyone. In this pandemic, when we lack definitive therapies and vaccines, hand hygiene alone can go long way in keeping you safe from getting infected.


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(Dr. Varun Deshmukh, Chief Intensivist, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre)

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