The UN General Assembly has designated 15 October as Global Handwashing Day and it’s a reminder to the general public (especially children and their parents) that proper hand hygiene is the key action in public health to help reduce rates of infection illnesses.
Globally, more than 200 million people will be involved worldwide and in Singapore, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) has developed hand hygiene programmes for preschool and primary school children as part of its public education efforts.
Research shows that children living in households exposed to hand washing promotion and soap had half the diarrheal rate of children living in control neighborhoods
Hand washing is the most cost-effective way to prevent diseases
Proper hand washing can reduce cases of infectious diseases such as diarrhoea, flu and HFMD (Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease) by 45 per cent. But simply washing your hands with just water is not enough. The HPB recommends the 8-step hand hygiene technique (see picture below) to ensure that hands are thoroughly cleaned.
When should hands should be washed?
- After using the toilet
- After eating
- After wiping or blowing your nose
- After coughing and sneezing
- After changing diapers
- After touching common surfaces (lift buttons, handles, table tops, etc)