Why Global Handwashing Day Is Important

Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia. Handwashing is a simple and inexpensive method of effectively removing germs from your hands. Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually on October 15 worldwide.

What is Global Handwashing Day?

Starting in 2008, “Global Handwashing Day is a way to support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country, and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.” Founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, Global Handwashing Day encourages school children, teachers, and families to get involved.

Did You Know?

There are 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of your skin right now. Our hands spread germs; people frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it – spreading germs that can make us sick.

“Handwashing with soap is one of the cheapest, most effective ‘vaccines’ against viral diseases, from the seasonal flu, to the common cold,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, head of UNICEF’s global water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes.

Are You Washing Your Hands Long Enough?

Take a look at our helpful video on proper handwashing to learn more.

Most people do not wash their hands long enough. It is recommended that you wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds to properly remove germs.

Handwashing Saves Lives

“Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively.”

  • Millions of children under the age of 5 years die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world.
  • Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia.
  • 2.2 Million children die per year from diseases often prevented by proper hygiene

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Handwashing is not only simple and inexpensive, but remarkably, handwashing with soap can dramatically cut the number of young children who get sick.”

How Can You Participate?

There are a variety of ways that you can participate in Global Handwashing Day including:

  • Make sure you and your family know when and how to properly wash your hands.
  • Visit Facebook and Twitter to learn more about Global Handwashing Day games and activities.
  • Download handwashing resources from: http://globalhandwashing.org/ghw-day/tools
  • Get social by searching for and using the hashtag #iwashmyhands on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

Remember that properly washing your hands (for at least 20 seconds) is a simple and effective method of preventing the spread of germs that should be practiced daily. For more information on handwashing, visit the CDC’s handwashing website.

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