Why is there a Global Handwashing Day? We all practice perfect hand hygiene, right?
Maybe not. Especially the children among us.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that handwashing with soap could protect one of every three children who get sick with diarrhea and one of every six young children who get respiratory infections like pneumonia. It’s also one of the most effective ways to prevent a host of other diseases we pass from person to person – from colds and flu to more serious infections.
You know the drill, but in honor Global Handwashing Day’s fifth birthday Oct. 15 – and more than 121 million children around the world who will also turn 5 that day – here is a refresher.
Wash hands after you do anything icky, like changing a diaper, using the toilet, blowing your nose, taking out or handling the trash, or cleaning up after a pet. Amd be sure to wash before fun stuff like cooking, eating, or playing with or feeding your little ones.
• Douse your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold).
• Lather up with soap and scrub thoroughly, including the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song twice through to make sure you’ve washed long enough.
• Rinse well under clean, running water.
• Dry with a clean towel, or air dry.
Soap and water are the gold standard for getting hands germ-free, but in a pinch hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol will do. Just remember that they will not be effective on hands that are visibly dirty, and that they can irritate children’s sensitive skin.