Monday, December 5, 2011

Clean Hands Save Lives!

This week (4-10 December) is the National Hand-washing Awareness Week.
So there’s a whole week dedicated for hand-washing?! You think it’s weird, right? Well, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, hand-washing is “one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others”. So let’s find out together why this act is so important and how we can stay on the safe side.


How can hand-washing save lives?

When done correctly, hand-washing can prevent the transmission of germs, thus prevent infectious diseases. Just think about where your hands have been all day; you touch everything from the elevator to the door handle of your office. You go to the bathroom and it’s filled with germs you can’t shield yourself from. You sneeze, you cough, etc.

Diseases may spread through:

- Fecal-oral contamination: you go to the bathroom, wash your hands inappropriately, then go for lunch. These diseases are spread through the ingestion of even the tiniest particles of fecal material.
Indirect contact with respiratory secretions: You sneeze, you cough, or you shake hands with someone who’s been sneezing or coughing.
- Contamination with urine, saliva or moist body substances: they are transmitted from person to person or indirectly by contamination of food or innate objects such as toys.

Exposure to germs is inevitable! You can’t prevent it; you can only treat it by washing your hands with the right techniques.

When should you wash your hands?

- Before, during or after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After touching garbage

What is the right way to wash your hands?



What type of soap should be used?

You can use any type of plain soap. However, soap bars should be kept in self-draining holders, cleaned properly when new bars are put out. Liquid soap containers should be used and thrown away when empty. This means, refilling the soap container is not preferable.
Alcohol based sanitizers that contain at least 60% alcohol can be used only when soap and water are not available. They can reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations. However, they cannot eliminate all types of germs. These gels are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.
In case you want to use hand sanitizers, make sure you rub the product all over your hands and fingers until they dry out.

What are the mistakes you should avoid making?

Don’t use a single damp cloth to wash a group of children’s hands.
Don’t use a standing basin of water to rinse hands.
Don’t use a common hand towel. Use the disposable ones.
Don't use sponges or non-disposable cleaning cloths unless you launder them on a regular basis, adding chlorine bleach to the wash water. Remember that germs thrive on moist surfaces!


Researchers in London estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, a million deaths can be prevented. Start taking action now and give a good example to your brothers and sisters, children, nieces and nephews.





15 comments:

Sareen said...

I heard once that you should sing the Happy Birthday song twice while washing your hands. That way you'll know if you washed your hands long enough!

Nadine Issa said...

this is very true sareen thanks for pointing that out! the 20 seconds are equivalent to singing happy birthday twice :D And maybe this will make washing hands more enjoyable :P

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