Allow 20 seconds for effective hand washing - Columbia Asia Hospital

Bangalore, October 14, 2017: One basic hygiene that is taught since our childhood is ‘hand washing’. But most of us do not know the process of hand washing while it certainly is an essential practice for a healthy living. This year’s theme is ‘Our Hands, Our Future’, reminding us that handwashing protects our own health, but also allows us to build our own futures, as well as those of our communities, and the world.

“People all over the world wash their hands withwater. It is a common place belief that washing with water alone is sufficientto make hands clean. However, using soap is more effective to remove germs andleaves hands smelling pleasant. With proper use, all soaps are equallyeffective at rinsing away the germs that cause disease. Every year, more than3.5 million children worldwide do not live to celebrate their fifth birthdaybecause of diarrhoea and pneumonia. Handwashing is effective in preventing thespread of disease even in overcrowded, highly contaminated slumenvironments”, said Dr. FirozahmadTorgal- Consultant, Emergency Medicine, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital,Yeshwanthpur.


Effects of ImproperHandwashing - Handwashing with soap works by interrupting the transmission of disease.Hands often act as vectors that carry disease-causing pathogens from person toperson, either through direct contact or via surfaces. Unwashed hands that havebeen in contact with human or animal excretions and secretions, contaminatedfoods or water can transport bacteria, viruses and parasites.


The Process – ‘Sing theHappy Birthday Song Twice while washing your hands’ - One should coverwet hands with soap; scrub all surfaces of hands, including palms, back,between the fingers and especially under the fingernails, for at least 20seconds; rinse well with running water; and dry either on a clean cloth or bywaving in the air. An easy way to gauge 20 seconds is to sing the “HappyBirthday” song twice.


When to do a handwash

Handwashing with soap is among the most effective andinexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal diseases, pneumonia, intestinal worm,skin and eye infections, SARS and Avian Flu, and benefits the health of peopleliving with HIV/AIDS. Performing proper hand washing requires soap and only asmall amount of water.


In our homes and communities, certain groups of peoplenamely, new-borns and children, elderly and immunosuppressed patients likedialysis patients, transplant patients, patients post-surgery and those withcancer, are more susceptible to infections. The critical moments toperform handwashing are after touching children in diapers; after touchingclothing, bedding, toilets, or bed pans soiled by someone who has diarrhoea;after gardening; any time you touch pets or other animals; including dirt inyour garden and other places. Even if you wear gloves when you do theseactivities you should still wash well when you finish. Children should besupervised by adults to make sure they wash their hands well.


The challenge is to transform handwashing with soapfrom an abstract good idea into an automatic behaviour performed in homes,schools, and communities. Handwashing with soap before eating or handling foodand after using the toilet could save more lives than any medical intervention.


This October 15th, whether you arecelebrating at school, in a health facility, or with your community, let us allwash our hands and invest in a better future! 

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