October 15th marks Global Handwashing Day, a day established by The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing to bring attention to hand hygiene. This year’s theme is “Choose handwashing. Choose health.” With winter germ season approaching, and numerous infectious diseases recently making headlines, this day should serve as a reminder to all of us on the importance of practicing good hand hygiene – not only today, but every day – for our overall health.
The Importance of Good Hand Hygiene
Health experts know that more than 80% of illnesses can be transmitted by the hands.1 This means that no matter what you touch, microorganisms often stick to your hands. Then, you might touch your face, mouth, nose and eyes and are basically ingesting those germs and putting yourself at risk for illness or infection. This is why good hand hygiene is so important. In fact, hand hygiene is one of the most important preventive measures we can take to reduce the spread of illness-causing germs.
This video featuring GOJO Scientist Dave Macinga, Ph.D., discusses why good hand hygiene is so important.
Hand Hygiene Education at a Global Level
GOJO is committed to providing hand hygiene education around the world. One example of this is the company’s collaboration with the non-profit organization SURE-P to provide PURELL® Hand Sanitizer to expectant mothers in rural Nigeria, where access to basic hygiene is a challenge. In addition, GOJO also provides an educational solution that teaches when to wash hands and when to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for sanitization to the Nigerian Ministry of Health.
Public health collaborations to deliver hand hygiene products to regions in extreme need are an integral part of the company’s commitment to social sustainability and well-being. GOJO will highlight these practices and its Sustainable Ways of Working as a sponsor of Flourish and Prosper: The Third Global Forum for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, which starts today on Global Handwashing Day and runs through this Friday in Cleveland.
Tips for Practicing Good Hand Hygiene
Knowing that hand hygiene is important is not simply enough. It is critical to use proper technique and know the key times to wash or sanitize hands.
For handwashing, the entire process should take at least 20 seconds. A good practice is to wet hands with water, apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces, rub hands palm to palm and carefully scrub fingers, the back and front of hands and each thumb. Rinse hands with water and gently dry hands with a clean paper towel.<
The hand sanitizing process should take about 15 seconds. Apply a palmful of alcohol-based hand sanitizer into your hands, covering all surfaces; rub the sanitizer into the palms of your hands, fingers, back and front of hands and thumbs. Continuing rubbing hands together until hands are dry.
And, finally it is always good to remember when to wash or sanitize your hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these are the key times:
- Before preparing food;
- Before eating;
- Before and after caring for someone that is sick or around someone that is ill;
- After using the bathroom;
- After sneezing or coughing; and
- After touching anything that may be a transmission vector of infection causing germs, such as subway railings, grocery carts, diapers, raw food, animals and trash.
By incorporating these best practices into your daily routine, you can be sure that hand hygiene is practiced each and every day.