Global Hand Washing Day – 15th October

Global Hand Washing Day – 15th October

Global Hand Washing Day is observed on October 15th every year to increase awareness and understanding of the significance of handwashing as an effective and affordable way to prevent the spread of infection and reduce sickness. Proper handwashing is the most effective and simple way to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

Hands are a natural breeding ground for germs, in fact, they are one of the principal carriers of disease-causing germs. Nearly 80% of infections are spread by hands, so encouraging good hand hygiene behaviors is an effective way to stop germs from spreading. Handwashing with soap and water is one of the simplest and most effective ways to prevent the spread of disease. Yet, 3 billion people still lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water at home.

Since last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic playing such a major role in our lives, Global Handwashing Day means more now than it ever has before. It is the day that focuses on raising awareness of making soap and water available globally, especially in public places, schools, and health care facilities.

The theme for this year’s Global Handwashing Day 2021 is “Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together.” 

In 2021 we have learned a lot from last year on the need for hand hygiene investments, policies, and programs. As today we enter the new world beyond COVID-19 we need to emphasize on hand hygiene. We saw the best way to defeat COVID-19 is proper hand hygiene this virus gave us a rude awakening. When deadly, unseen germs first burst into the global scene, it left the billions of people hunkered down at home. Little then was known about it and ways to deal with it. Yet, one way to defeat it is within easy reach: Wash your hands properly. It’s one of the first recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) to defeat the virus.

This advice persists till today. Even before COVID, it’s one of the most important ways to fight the transmission of infections. Today marks Global Handwashing Day. Let’s remind ourselves of the importance of basic hand hygiene to beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic.

Why is it launched

It was launched as a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as the most effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Global Handwashing Day serves as a strong reminder that washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of a virus.

Who started it

Global Handwashing Day was inaugurated about 12 years ago in 2008 by the Global Handwashing Partnership, which is a collaboration of international stakeholders and businesses working to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.

How do germs spread?

The US Centre For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that germs can spread from other people or surfaces when you:

  • Touch your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands

  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands

  • Prepare or eat food and drinks with unwashed hands

  • Touch a contaminated surface or objects

  • Blow your nose, cough, or sneeze into hands and then touch other people’s hands or common objects

When are the key times to wash hands?

You can help yourself and your loved ones stay healthy by washing your hands often, especially during these key times when you are likely to get and spread germs:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food

  • Before eating food

  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea

  • 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, animal feed, or animal waste

  • After handling pet food or pet treats

  • After touching garbage

Source: WHO Twitter

Basic Facts of Handwashing

  • No matter who you are, you should celebrate Global Handwashing Day today.

  • The best way to wash hands is to rinse the hands in warm water, wash with soap and rub for 20 seconds, rinse again, dry with a paper towel, turn off the tap using a paper towel.

  • Whether or not there is a virus, you should always wash your hands.

  • Washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths, foodborne disease, and respiratory infections.

  • The most critical times for handwashing are before preparing food and after going to the bathroom.

  • Most bacteria on our hands are on the fingertips and under the nails.

  • TV Remote Controls Are a Leading Carrier of Bacteria.

  • Jet air hand dryers are basically bacterial bombs.

  • Soap is better than antibacterial gel.

  • Hand washing is proven to reduce absences, sick days, and lost productivity.

  • One in five people doesn’t wash their hands routinely.

Suggested Read: Important Days In October

Avatar for Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.