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Global Handwashing Day – Hand Hygiene for All

Oct 15, 2020

Faizel Patel – 15/10/2020

(Twitter: @FaizelPatel143)

As the world marks Global Handwashing Day on 15 October, UNICEF and The World Health Organisation (WHO) have themed this year’s campaign “Hand Hygiene for All”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen governments and health organisations from around the globe calling on individuals to be more vigilant than ever about handwashing.

Stacy Roberts from Clere Pure & Protect says there is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has reminded us of the importance of handwashing adding that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of viruses – contracting and stopping the transmission – is hand hygiene.

“The Hand Hygiene for All initiative highlights the importance, once again, of handwashing and how it needs to become an integral part of our daily lives.”

In order to have a more concerted effort in hand hygiene, UNICEF and WHO are calling for the improvement of access to water supplies and physical infrastructure, and for soap and alcohol-based sanitisers to be available and affordable including  finally for individuals to change their behaviour when it comes to handwashing and hand sanitising.

Roberts says that she believes that there has already been a dramatic change in behaviour, though it be a necessity because of COVID-19.

Some handwashing tips from Clere Pure & Protect:

  • If washing hands with soap and water, remember running water is necessary, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds – if you are not sure how long that is, sing happy birthday or twinkle twinkle little star – and don’t forget to wash between your fingers and up to your wrists.
  • If using hand sanitiser, ensure it is alcohol-based and apply a coin-sized amount of sanitiser to the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together, ensuring the sanitiser covers all surfaces of both your hands, including between your fingers and up around your fingertips and nails. Only stop rubbing in the product once your hands are completely dry.

Roberts says, while washing our hands with soap and water and sanitising should be adhered to, you may be finding that your skin is a lot drier, sensitive to touch and cracking.

“The increase in sanitising and washing, plus coming out of winter, means our skin is being stripped of its natural, protective oils at a much more rapid rate, causing it to dry out. Using a moisturising lotion throughout the day will help to restore moisture.”

The WHO and UNICEF’s Global Handwashing Day Fact Sheet highlights that this year the initiative is calling for countries to celebrate hand hygiene as a central part of their COVID-19 response and at the same time to start planning to create the future.

Once the immediate crisis is over, rebuilding better than before means that countries will need to strengthen their hygiene systems. Which will help them to control COVID-19, prevent other new emerging diseases, and fight against long term challenges like diarrheal diseases.

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