If there is one thing that people across the globe learnt from COVID-19, it is that personal hygiene is of paramount importance for our overall health and well-being. From wearing double masks to carrying bottles of hand sanitisers, these practices which were not considered to be essential-have become our daily routine.
Well, proper handwashing was and is still considered the chief defence practice against the SARS CoV-2 virus. Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus, the merits of maintaining clean hands and proper washing was largely emphasized by the government and several other agencies globally.
To educate and encourage the populace to reap the benefits of handwashing with soap, every year Global Handwashing Day is celebrated on October 15. Handwashing with soap and water is one of the best measures we can take to avert getting sick and spreading germs to others. It is an easy, effective, and affordable way to avert disease and save lives. The event was recognized by the Global Handwashing Partnership in 2008, this year’s theme is “Our Future is at Hand-Let’s Move Forward Together”, which pleas for a coordination action plan as we keenly work toward universal hand hygiene.
One of the key measures to prevent the spread of pathogens and stay in the pink of health is as simple as -handwashing with soap and water. Reports reveal that keeping hands clean can avert 1 in 3 diarrhoeal sicknesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, like a cold or the flu. Furthermore, handwashing with soap also prevents the spread of infections and viruses including influenza and coronavirus.
Many germs and pathogens that make people fall sick are spread when people don’t wash their hands with soap and clean running water. Therefore, handwashing is pivotal, especially at crucial times such as after using the restroom, when making food, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing the nose.
Significance of Handwashing
Handwashing with soap and water is not only simple and affordable but can also remarkably decrease the number of young children who fall ill. Educating people in the community about handwashing helps the populace stay healthy and improve overall well-being.
Initiating handwashing awareness and training programs in the community can:
- Decrease the number of people who fall ill with diarrhoea by about 23-40%
- Reduce absenteeism due to stomach illness in school-going children by 29-57%
- Lower risk of diarrhoeal illness in people with compromised immunity by 58%
- Reduce respiratory ailments such as colds among the general population by 16-21%
Need For Handwashing
Alarming statistics reveal that about 1.37 billion people (around 18% of the total population in the globe) lack proper handwashing amenities at home, well this issue matters greatly.
Proper handwashing has been and will continue as one of the most effective measures to stay safe and healthy during the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and is by far one of the most essential hygienic behaviours people need to adopt for a healthy life.
Access to washing services and information alone is not adequate to change human behaviour, people must be assured that they have an important role to play, and they need frequent reminders to stay motivated and keep up the conducts that can safeguard them and near and dear ones from disease.
Remember our hands are one of the main ways in which we interact with people across the world. Science-backed evidence reveals that proper cleaning and washing can lower the risks of diseases like respiratory and gastrointestinal by 20-25%. Cleanliness is next to godliness; a healthy and clean body is the way for attaining overall wellness.