Header Ads

Handwashing Our Way to Health

Our hands come into contact with various objects in the course of the day – cash, pens, stair handles, doorknobs and many more; regular handwashing is therefore a crucial task. It comes as no surprise that our hands harbor many organisms which may potentially cause diseases including diarrheal and respiratory diseases, two of the most common causes of morbidity in the country. Incidentally, these two diseases are among the biggest killers of young children in developing countries and both can be prevented by handwashing.

Handwashing Facts

Studies have shown that washing of hands with soap can significantly lead to a 35-44 per cent reduction in the risk of diarrhea and a 21-45 per cent reduction in the risk of respiratory disease. Handwashing also lowers the incidence of infections by intestinal worms like Ascariasis and the prevalence of eye infections like infective conjunctivitis. In effect, washing acts like a vaccine which prevents diseases from happening. Handwashing saves money spent for hospitalizations. Handwashing also reduces school absenteeism.

When Should You do Handwashing?

So, do you wash during these instances – before preparing food? How about during and after preparing food? Before eating food? After using the toilet? Well you should, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Unfortunately, a global review of 11 countries has shown that less than 2 out of 10 people are practicing handwashing after using the toilet.

Other instances when handwashing should be done according to the CDC are: before and after caring for someone who is sick (Take note health care workers!), before and after treating a cut or wound, after changing diapers (Attention parents!), after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste and after touching garbage.

Important handwashing buddies (image courtesy of Doc Buboy)
Important handwashing buddies (image courtesy of Doc Buboy)

When is Handwashing Most Effective?

Handwashing is most effective when done with soap. It doesn’t need to be an antibacterial soap. Regular soap will do. Fecal microorganisms may lodge in the natural oils of our hands. Water alone will not be enough to remove them. Soap breaks up dirt and grease, and facilitates friction leaving the hands visibly clean and smelling fresh.

But what if there is no soap and water available? Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can actually be used provided they have at least 60% alcohol content. These sanitizers though are not effective for visibly dirty hands.

To use sanitizer, apply them to the palm of the hand. Then rub hands together rubbing the product all over surfaces of the hands and fingers until the hands are dry.

Now that you know facts about handwashing including its benefits, the challenge is to actually perform handwashing as a regular habit and to educate others in doing so. People also have to realize that soap is important for effective handwashing. For example, schools have to provide soap to their handwashing stations and toilets for children to use.

Handwashing can definitely help the community become a healthier one.

[author image=”https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/178901_4826164014085_817177287_n.jpg” ]Doc Buboy is Cebu’s first Medical Doctor Blogger. He is an awesome friend to his colleagues in Cebu Bloggers Society and a loving husband to his wife. He is currently diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease and he needs ours help more than ever. To help Doc Buboy, please visit his blog at www.pinoylifewithpkd.blogspot.com[/author]

Handwashing Our Way to Health by Doc Buboy

No comments

Powered by Blogger.