Eighth Annual Global Handwashing Day

Today, October 15 2015, is the 8th Annual Global Handwashing Day! Each year nearly 2 million children, ages 5 and younger, die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia making these the largest killers of children across the globe. Meaning every minute, around the world, a parent loses a child to diarrhea.

An estimated 50% of diarrheal disease-associated deaths could be prevented by hand washing with soap and water. Living in the United States we take for granted our virtually unlimited access to soap and water.  Unfortunately, many developing countries do not have access to the soap or running water needed to perform this basic task. Global Handwashing Day was started as an international advocacy day to educate about the importance of handwashing, with soap, as an economic and effective way to prevent spread of deadly bacteria. Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, one of the major organizations responsible for the day, rallies under the tagline, “handwashing with soap and water is like a do-it-yourself vaccine”. Simply, clean hands save lives.

People know to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but did you know washing your hands before and after food preparation as well as before and after dinner is the easiest and one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of foodborne bacteria. Even ready-to-eat foods require handwashing. When in doubt, wash.

Facts about hand washing:

  • Did you know bacteria can live up to three hours on your hands. Think about all the things your hands come in contact with during a day.
  • The average keyboard has more bacteria than a toilet seat
  • Smartphones can carry 30,000 bacteria units
  • The average person only washes their hands for 6 seconds after going to the bathroom, instead of the recommended 20 seconds.
  • There is fecal matter on 10% of credit cards and about 14% of legal tender (paper money)

Proper Handwashing Technique (provided by the CDC)

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them

We encourage everyone to take a moment today to raise a hand for hygiene!

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