“Inputs from Dr. Brunda, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Aster CMI Hospital”
New Delhi, October 15, 2020:
Every year on October 15th Global Hand washing Day is observed to spread awareness about hand hygiene as hands are the most common medium of transferring viruses to our mouth and getting infected. For the year 2020, the theme for Global Handwashing Day is ‘Hand Hygiene for All’ that calls for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene. With the world battling the COVID-19 pandemic, washing hands and maintaining hand hygiene has become the need of the hour and is also one of the cheapest and easiest measure to prevent one from contracting the deadly coronavirus. While the scientists and health experts are still researching for a vaccine, the most important way to avoid getting infected is currently by washing hands regularly.
According to the CDC, washing hands with soap and water whenever possible can prevent 1 in 3 diarrheal illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, including a cold or the flu. Washing hands clean with soap and water whenever possible also reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. However, it is strongly recommended to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to help avoid getting sick and restrict the germ spread to others.
Individuals should choose a sanitizer which has at least 70 per cent alcohol content. This is important because lesser alcohol content sanitizers are ineffective against many pathogens and do not offer complete sanitization of the hands. Currently, some sanitizers are being marketed as ‘alcohol-free sanitizers’ and one should avoid using those as there is not much evidence that suggests if they work at all. Furthermore, since alcohol acts as a preservative, the alcohol-based sanitizers are less likely to be contaminated as compared to ‘alcohol-free’ sanitizers. The FDA has recommended buyers to purchase hand sanitizers that have 95 per cent ethanol or isopropanol.
Hence, on World Hand Washing Day by following regular hand washing practices and using everything in the right manner and the right place, we can keep ourselves safe and secure.