Who has been fortunate enough to escape the Cold & Flu Season? Not everyone can say that they have. With being back to school and visiting crowded places, it is hard to stay away from getting sick. We all have different methods to try and stay healthy: sanitizing hands, sanitizing your work space, drinking tea, using essential oils, loading up on Vitamin D, using air purification systems, and many others. But how many people wash their hands on a regular basis?
Let’s celebrate Global Handwashing Day! In 2008, the Global Handwashing Partnership established the observance in aims to increase awareness and knowledge of the benefits of handwashing with soap. Let’s remind all adults and children that washing your hands can help prevent the spreading of germs and reduce the amount of people who get sick every season.
Why is it that it seems like people often forget that handwashing with soap is an effective and affordable way to avoid illnesses? Think about all the crucial times when handwashing is a must: after using the bathroom, before and after handling food, after coughing and sneezing, after caring for someone who is sick or ill, after touching objects in high-trafficked areas to name a few. And who is guilty of not washing their hands after one or more of the actions previously listed?
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), understanding the importance of handwashing can:
- Reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by about 23-40%
- Reduce absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57%
- Reduce diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by about 58%
- Reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by about 16-21%
Washing your hands, however, takes more than just a three second scrub with soap and water. To properly wash your hands, you should:
- Wet your hands with clean, warm, running water
- With soap, scrub hands and interlace fingers for at least 20 seconds
- Rinse hands with clean, warm, running water
- Air dry hands or use a clean towel / paper towel