World Hand Hygiene Day - May 5th, Accelerate Action Together, Save Lives - Clean Your Hands.
Every year on May 5th, we celebrate World Hand Hygiene Day, an occasion dedicated to promoting hand hygiene practices globally. Hand hygiene is cleaning your hands to reduce the risk of infection and prevent the spread of disease. It is a critical component of public health and an essential measure to protect oneself and others.
The World Hand Hygiene Day 2023 theme is "Accelerate action together. SAVE LIVES - Clean Your Hands,"." The theme highlights the importance of promoting hand hygiene practices to everyone, regardless of location, socioeconomic status, or cultural background. The objective is to ensure that hand hygiene is accessible and practiced by everyone worldwide.
Hand hygiene is of utmost importance in preventing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, which has affected millions of people worldwide. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets that can land on surfaces that remain for hours or even days.
Importance Of World Hand Hygiene Day (WHHD)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthcare-associated infections are contracted by hundreds of thousands of people yearly while receiving medical treatment. These healthcare-associated infections can be prevented by practicing good hand hygiene. It was estimated that one in ten healthcare facilities lack proper sanitation. Additionally, over 24% of maternal and neonatal deaths yearly occur due to unhygienic birth practices. Studies have shown that proper hand hygiene practices have the potential to reduce healthcare-associated infections by up to 55% and can even increase newborn survival rates by 44%. These statistics highlight the critical importance of promoting hand hygiene awareness and ensuring that it is accessible to the public and healthcare professionals to prevent the spread of disease. The instance of this global hand washing day is also celebrated.
Importance Of Hand Hygiene In Everyday Life
Hand hygiene is a crucial aspect of public health and an essential measure in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. The value of hand hygiene cannot be overstated, as it is one of the simplest and most good ways to prevent the spread of germs and infections.
The hands are one of the main carriers of germs and bacteria, as they come into contact with various surfaces and objects throughout the day. When people touch their face, mouth, or eyes with contaminated hands, they can easily transfer harmful germs and bacteria into their bodies, leading to illness and infection.
Good hand hygiene practices include:
- Washing hands with soap and water.
- Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
- Wearing gloves when handling hazardous materials.
Washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to remove dirt, germs, and bacteria from the hands. Proper handwashing involves wetting the hands, applying soap, rubbing the hands together for 20 seconds, and rinsing thoroughly with water.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also an effective alternative to handwashing when soap and water are unavailable. They work by killing germs on the hands, but they are ineffective against certain germs, such as norovirus, which causes gastroenteritis.
Hand hygiene is especially important in healthcare settings, where infections can spread rapidly between patients and healthcare workers. In hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, strict hand hygiene protocols are enforced to prevent the spread of infections.
In addition to healthcare settings, hand hygiene is essential in other public places, such as schools, offices, and public transport, where people come into close contact.
Consequences Of Not Maintaining Hand Hygiene
Not maintaining hand hygiene can seriously affect individuals and those around them. The following are some of the potential consequences of not maintaining hand hygiene:
- Spread of infectious diseases: Hands are the most common carriers of germs, viruses, and bacteria. Not maintaining hand hygiene can spread infectious diseases such as the flu, colds, diarrhea, and food poisoning.
- Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs): These are acquired in healthcare settings, such as hospitals and clinics. Failure to maintain hand hygiene by healthcare workers can spread HAIs, which can be life-threatening, especially for vulnerable patients such as the elderly or immunocompromised.
- Increased risk of antibiotic resistance: Poor hand hygiene can also contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance. When people do not wash their hands properly, they can transfer antibiotic-resistant bacteria to others, making infections more difficult to treat.
- Poor personal hygiene: Poor hand hygiene can lead to poor overall personal hygiene, including bad breath, body odor, and dirty nails. These can impact a person's self-esteem and make them uncomfortable and socially isolated.
- Workplace absenteeism: Employees who do not maintain proper hand hygiene are more likely to become sick, leading to increased absenteeism. This can have a significant impact on productivity and overall business performance.
Maintaining good hand hygiene is a simple and effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and promote overall personal hygiene. Failure to maintain proper hand hygiene can have serious consequences, including the spread of illnesses, increased risk of antibiotic resistance, and workplace absenteeism. Regularly washing hands with soap and water, using hand sanitizers, and following other hand hygiene protocols are important steps individuals can take to protect themselves and others from harmful germs and bacteria.