Boy washing his hands
Clean Hands

Global Handwashing Day 2020

Mucky pups, beware of October 15th! 

As the nursery rhyme teaches us: “Wash hands well each day, to keep germs away. Scrub with soap and water and be on your way.”
thumbs up
Thumbs up for Global Handwashing Day
Ha! Did you just do it again? According to a study of the National Institute of Health in Bethesda (Maryland/USA), we touch our face up to 3.6 times per hour on average.

Most of the time, we do it unconsciously — rubbing our eyes, scratching our nose or touching our face. But with every touch germs and viruses go from our hands to our faces and from there they can make their way into our body e.g. through oral, nasal or ocular mucosa. There’s only one thing that can prevent that: Wash your hands but do it right!
man touching his face

Washing away washed-up bad habits

On October 15th we are once again celebrating Global Handwashing Day, which was started by the World Health Organization 12 years ago, in 2008. Long gone are the days when we just casually followed the rule: Wash your hands after you’ve been to the toilet and before you eat. Sometimes we’d stretch that too: before cooking, after coming home and just whenever you got your hands dirty.

But since the virus SARS-CoV-2 and with it the risk to acquire COVID-19 entered our lives beginning this year, handwashing became as important as ever. For example, one possible source of transmission is contaminated surfaces – and since we just simply can’t stop touching our faces, we spread potential germs on it that we “picked up” from the surfaces we touch.

Handwashing must be learned properly

It appears to be so easy but there are a few special extra steps. It’s not without reason that children are taught how to properly wash their hands! You need water, soap and about 20-30 seconds – enough time to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, no matter if belted out loudly or silently in your head.

Here’s a few classics amongst the handwashing fake news: It’s enough to shortly place your hands under running water because germs will simply be flushed off. Or: It’s completely enough to quickly rub your palms. Or how about this one: Wash your hands and then rub them on a dirty towel – or just quickly on your worn jeans.
woman washing her hands

This is the right way to do it according to the WHO:

  • Rinse your hands under running water.
  • First rub your palms together with soap
  • and then between your fingers, and on the back of your hands.
  • Afterwards rub your hands with your fingers interlaced,
  • then your fingertips and nail beds
  • and finally your thumbs.
  • To finish it up thoroughly rinse off the soap
  • and use a paper towel or dry, clean towel because microbes grow just wonderfully on wet towels.
  • And of course, you know better than to dry off your clean hands on dirty pants.

The more, the better?

There’s no universal number on how many times a day you should wash your hands. While there are strict recommendations regarding washing your hands in health care or food processing, it depends on what and where you are doing something when it comes to everyday life. Especially in situations when there is just no possibility to wash your hands with water and soap, hand disinfection can be a valuable alternative to protect your hands from potential pathogens. Otherwise: Wash your hands but do it right. You know how to do it.

hand disinfection
Use disinfectants safely. Always read label and product information before use.

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