Hand washing

Wash Your Hands Even When No One’s Looking

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We see those hand hygiene ads on TV all the time. There are even more hundreds of fancy posters inside public washrooms, hospitals and elevators. But, how many of us really wash our hands clean at all times?

Just imagine a food crew who comes to work with flu. His boss didn’t allow him to take the day off, so he goes to work all sick, tired and of course, grumpy. He starts making burgers and sending them to everybody. Because he’s sick and tired and grumpy, he forgot about covering his mouth and nose as he sneezes and coughs and he never once, washed his hands.

Now, everything he touches gets splats of germ-causing diseases: his knife, co-workers, burger buns (patties, too) and maybe some spare change. If all the customers just went along and didn’t wash their hands too, then countless more easily gets his infection. What if it’s much more serious than flu and it reaches your patients, schools or maybe, your homes?

These are some facts that may encourage us to make hand-washing a habit just like cleaning our tongues or brushing our teeth.

  • 80% of all infectious diseases are transmitted by touch.
  • The WHO reports that 90% of the annual deaths from diarrhea are among children particularly in developing countries.
  • Simple act of washing hands with soap and water reduces incidents of diarrhea from shigella up to 35 percent.
  • The spread of pinworms can be reduced by proper hygiene, including clipping nails and showering children immediately after they wake in the morning.
  • More than 50% of healthy persons have Staphylococcus aureus living in or on their nasal passages, throats, hair, or skin.
  • Kids who wash their hands at least four times a day experience 24% fewer sick days from colds, flu and the like, and 51% fewer sick days due to stomach ailments.
  • Hand washing can reduce the risk of respiratory infections by 16%
  • The average individual swimmer contributes at least 0.14 grams of fecal material to the water, usually within the first 15 minutes of entering. Showering with soap before swimming helps stop the spread of germs by removing fecal material from the body.
  • The WHO says that each year, hundreds of millions of patients around the world are affected by health care-associated infections (HCAIs). Most of these patients came in with something simple and end up getting severe infections like septicemia, or even succumbing to death.

It takes about two wonderful rendition of the Happy Birthday song to wash your hands really clean.

Hand washing by WHO