Hand hygiene is paramount to slow the spread of transmittable infectious diseases.

World Hand Hygiene Day is observed every year on May 5th to raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. The day was first declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2009 and has since then become an important global health initiative.

Hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. It involves washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill germs that may be present on your hands. Hand hygiene is particularly important in healthcare settings where patients are more susceptible to infections.

The theme for World Hand Hygiene Day 2023 is “Clean Hands for All”, which highlights the need for everyone to have access to hand hygiene facilities and to understand the importance of maintaining good hand hygiene practices.

According to the WHO, hand hygiene is crucial in preventing the spread of infections such as COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory illnesses. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought renewed attention to the importance of hand hygiene and has highlighted the need for individuals to take responsibility for their own health and the health of others by washing their hands regularly and thoroughly.

In healthcare settings, hand hygiene is essential for preventing the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HAIs affect millions of patients every year in the United States alone, and hand hygiene is the most important factor in preventing these infections.

To promote hand hygiene, the WHO recommends the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing, before eating or preparing food, after using the bathroom, and after touching surfaces in public places.
  2. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available. Look for a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub it into your hands until they are dry.
  3. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose, and mouth, as this can increase your risk of contracting an infectious disease.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze, and dispose of the tissue immediately.
  5. Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others to prevent the spread of illness.

World Hand Hygiene Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the importance of hand hygiene and to encourage others to make it a priority in their daily lives. By practicing good hand hygiene, we can help prevent the spread of infectious diseases and keep ourselves and our communities healthy.

Follow the below links for more information on Hand Hygiene, and what YOU can do to keep others safe from transmittable diseases.

Written using resources from the World Health Organisation , compiled by:

Helen Truscott RN, RM, MPH, GDipTMH, DipWHS, CPC-A

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Published On: May 2nd, 2023 / Categories: TruHealth /

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