Worldwide action day to educate people about hand hygiene
On October 15th, the time has come again: the international handwashing day is taking place for the seventh time. In many countries, the goal of educating people about the need for hygiene and hand washing will be increasingly pursued on this day. Because especially in the cold period, thorough and regular hand hygiene is important to stay healthy. Experts explain why hand washing is important and what you should pay attention to.
Regular hand cleaning is often left out
Regular hand cleaning should not only be a matter of course on Global Handwashing Day. Whether before eating, after shopping in the supermarket or after a day at the office - from an expert's point of view, hand washing is the most important hygiene rule to protect yourself from numerous illnesses. However, hand washing is often neglected in the daily routine, as a representative forsa survey on behalf of the Commercial Health Insurance Fund (KKH) showed.
Pathogens often spread through the hands
According to this, for example, one in three Germans refrains from washing their hands before eating, the KKH reports in a current press release. The survey shows that also a third of the respondents do not go to the sink after coming home. On the other hand, one in five people even wash their hands at least once an hour during the course of the day, the health insurance company informs.
Regular hand hygiene is particularly important in the upcoming cold period, because "a lot of viruses spread particularly often through the hands," explains Eugen Rebhan from the service team of the KKH commercial health insurance in Coburg. "Regular and thorough washing of the hands has been proven to reduce the risk of catching colds, flu and other infections," says Rebhan.
Rinse off for 20 to 30 seconds
However, it is important that the hands are not only quickly held under the tap, but are thoroughly cleaned. Because for good protection against infectious diseases, hand washing must take place correctly and long enough. From an expert's point of view, 20 to 30 seconds are required to rinse off all pathogens, according to the KKH report. To get a feeling for this period of time, the children's aid organization Unicef recommends singing the song “Happy Birthday” twice while washing hands.
Antibacterial soap is unnecessary
However, water alone is not enough, it is better to lather your hands with soap or washing lotion. “According to studies, the water temperature is irrelevant. It is much more important to carefully dry the hands afterwards in order not to offer the microorganisms a moist environment for further distribution, ”says Rebhan.
Nor does it have to be a special antibacterial soap. Researchers from South Korea were able to show that this usually has no additional benefit and that cleaning with soap and chemicals does not result in bacteria-free hands.
WHO launches hand washing day
The International Hand Washing Day was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO). Partners include Unicef, the World Bank, and the United States' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The action day was first held in 2008 and, according to the organizers, is celebrated annually by hundreds of millions of people worldwide.
Schools, day care centers, playgrounds and other public facilities in numerous countries are busy with hand hygiene campaigns on October 15 to remind adults and children to wash their hands. (No)