Hand washing is one of the simplest and most effective means of preventing the spread of viruses and other infectious diseases. Especially this time of pandemic, the Department of Health (DOH) and medical health workers suggest to wash our hands as many times as possible to avoid the spread of the virus. According to World Health Organization (WHO), hand hygiene is the primary measure proven to be effective in preventing infections and diseases. In fact, handwashing can reduce diarrheal diseases by 30% to 48% and can reduce acute respiratory infections by 20%.
Global Handwashing Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap. This year’s theme is “Hand Hygiene for All”, a call to action to make hand hygiene a reality for all. The theme is in line with the new Hand Hygiene for All initiative led by the WHO and UNICEF.
Below is the proper step-by-step process on hand washing technique with soap and water:
1. Wet hands with water;
2. Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces;
3. Rub hands palm to palm;
4. Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa;
5. Palm to palm with fingers interlaced;
6. Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlaced;
7. Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa;
8. Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa;
9. Rinse hand with water;
10. Dry hands thoroughly with a single use clean towel;
11. Use towel to turn off the faucet.
Making hand hygiene available and accessible for all requires a multi-sectoral and society-wide approach. Hand washing is a key in the fight against COVID-19. Handwashing with soap destroys the outer membrane of the virus and thereby inactivates it. The Global Handwashing Day is also a call for all government and private agencies to work together. To keep everyone healthy, everyone has a role to play. Handwashing will help control COVID-19 and other new emerging diseases.
Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently throughout the day even if you think they don’t need to be washed.
AA VI Cielo Katrina M. Mabalot
1. Global Handwashing Day Fact Sheet from https://globalhandwashing.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/GHD-2020-Fact-Sheet-English.pdf
2. Hand Hygiene for All Global Initiative from https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/hand-hygiene-for-all/en/
3. WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Health Care: A Summary from https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/tools/who_guidelines-handhygiene_summary.pdf