Global Handwashing Day is an yearly reminder of the importance of washing hands to prevent the spread of infectious disease. It is celebrated on 15 October every year. This day is an initiative to provide appropriate attention to hand hygiene it deserves.
In the year 2020, coronavirus has become a sensation all over the globe. Amid the corona pandemic in 2020, handwashing has become exclusively important. Doctors and the governing bodies are laying special emphasis on washing hands properly. So this year’s global handwashing day holds special importance.
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Importance of hand hygiene
Hand hygiene refers to cleaning hands with soap or liquid handbags and with water properly. Washing hands cleanses the hands and frees them from harmful chemicals and pathogens like bacteria, fungus and viruses. Hand hygiene is important for everyone but holds a special necessity for people working in restaurants or the medical field or who cook, serve, or deliver food to the general public. It is a fact that Proper hand hygiene can reduce the transmission of viruses and other germs. Washing hands is known to be the best way to maintain personal hygiene and protect oneself from diseases. Plus it reduces the risk of various skin diseases. Dangerous bacteria and viruses such as E. coli and Salmonella, Coronavirus can be carried by people, animals, or equipment and transmitted to food spreading infection.
Indian Religions promotes hand hygiene for ages
Faith and medicine are an integrated approach to healing. Religions are known to be great science. Various texts, scripts, sculptures, religions, etc. in India emphasize on outer and inner hygiene.
Here are some points where hand hygiene has been an integral part of Indian culture
The Indian Namaste
As mentioned in Hindu Vedas, our maharishis and gurus knew about the dangers of the future. They even mentioned pandemics as “ janpadudhwans rogas” in Ayurveda texts.
Namaste needs to be brought back to the fore, instead of the Handshakes of West. The whole world has recognized this and people are now advertising about the same.
Plus in the Hindu culture, hands were rubbed vigorously with ash and then rinsed with water as a method of scrubbing.
When we visit gurudwaras, there is a special area for washing hands. The basic reason is to get hands cleaned before sitting with people. This was a step taken years back to prevent infections.
As specified in the Quran, Every observant Muslim has to maintain meticulous personal cleanliness at five intervals a day, along with his/her usual routine of bathing. Also, hands are to be washed in running water before praying at any place.
Christians have a ritual of the sprinkling of holy water on hands before the consecration of bread and also the ritual of the washing of hands after touching the holy oil.
In Buddhism, washing hands in a clockwise manner goes well with the positive manner of cheerful occasions to celebrate.
Therefore, every religion in India stresses hand washing for hand hygiene.
So here we have religions that promote the world-embracing values that prove their efficacy in getting rid of viruses and bacteria.
When hands should be washed?
Washing hands should be part of your day to day habits. The practice should be mandatory:
- After using the toilet or washroom
- After arriving from outside
- After coughing or sneezing
- After blowing your nose.
- Before cooking food
- After eating food
- After playing with animals
- After shaking hands with outsiders
- After playing outdoors
- Before and after changing contact lenses
How to wash your hands properly?
Here are the steps to wash hands properly.
- Step 1 Wet hands and apply soap
- Step 2 Rub palms together until soap is bubbly
- Step 3 Rub each palm over the back of the other hand
- Step 4 Rub between your fingers on each hand
- Step 5 Rub your hands with the fingers together
- Step 6 Rub around each of your thumbs
- Step 7 Rub in circles on your palms
- Step 8 Then rinse and dry your hands
Activities around the globe on this day
The day is celebrated every year with various innovative themes. This year it is going to be celebrated with “Hand Hygiene for All”.
Different activities are done across the world to make people and children aware of the same.
On 15 October 2014, Indian sate Madhya Pradesh won the Guinness World Record for organizing most massive handwashing day. 1,276,425 children in 51 different districts participated on this day.
Children at Lupok Central Elementary School in the Philippines celebrated the Global Handwashing Day by performing the proper handwashing before starting classes On 15 October 2015.
Another Guinness world record regarding handwashing was made in Dera Sacha Sauda, Sirsa Haryana. The large no. of people sanitizing their hands simultaneously is 7,675 at an event organized by Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. This record was made to promote hygiene across several Indian cities.
Initiatives to promote hand hygiene
Hand Washing is the single most important, easiest, and cheapest means of preventing the spread of infection.
The government must take proper steps to make people aware of hand hygiene. This day is a Call to all of the society to take action to achieve Universal Access to Hand Hygiene.
To promote hand hygiene in India, Govt. must ensure the supply of soaps and handwashes for free in India because still there are many people who cannot afford soaps, sanitizers, and hand wash.
Also, private companies are taking undue advantages in supplying these essentials in the period of the corona pandemic.
Handwashing is the simplest and yet most effective way to prevent diseases.
Let us all join hands to promote handwashing and hand hygiene to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus further.
Writing Credits – Lovepreet Arora