Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands!!! Needless to say that these words have become much like a mantra that we remind ourselves and that we tell our kids all the time. Not to mention that there are countless posters and signs in all public restrooms, kitchens and in the workplace reminding employees to wash their hands before resuming work.
And with reasons! It might seem trivial to some, but poor hand hygiene can lead to more serious consequences than just being contaminated by a flu virus. As a matter of fact, lives actually depend on it. According to a report from UNICEF, the two leading causes of death in children living in resource-poor settings are diarrhoea and respiratory diseases such as pneumonia – both of which are preventable by the simplest, most effective and the least expensive act of handwashing.
Out of hands!
Indeed, another survey led by Initial in 2016 shared some disturbing statistics regarding the spread of germs and diseases with hands as the main culprit. According to that research, the typical office worker’s hands come into contact with 10 million bacteria every day. On top of that, after using the toilet, hands can have a bacterial population count of over 200 million per square inch. To make matters worse, 1 in 4 office workers don’t wash their hands after using the washroom and if they do, only 20% of them will properly dry their hands after washing. Drying your hands is just as important as washing them as damp hands spread 1000 times more bacteria than dry hands.
This already adds up to a terrifying amount of bacteria walking around on your hands every day, making you a walking time bomb, for yourself and those around you, especially since contaminated hands can transfer viruses to more than 5 other surfaces. It is estimated that a desk phone has around 25,127 microbes per square inch, keyboards 3,295 and mice 1,676, and we haven’t even brought up other common elements such as contaminated handrails, elevator buttons, light switches, door knobs, refrigerator handles and the list goes on and on. Did we mention that these germs are resilient enough to live on these surfaces for a few days?
Hence, you might not be surprised to find out that 60% of time off work illnesses are contracted from dirty office equipment. This puts poor hand hygiene at the top of the list as the biggest cause of office illness.
Our goal is not to turn you into an obsessive-compulsive person scared of any human contact, but on the occasion of Global Handwashing Day on the 15th of October, we are dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective way to prevent diseases. Especially since the simple act of washing hands can reduce the risk of getting a stomach bug by as much as 47%, which is almost reducing the amount by half. It is considerable enough to take proper handwashing seriously.
Show your hands!
Lend us a hand and help us make a difference by changing your hand hygiene habits and that of those around you. Start by stopping germs from spreading through your home and workplace by washing your hands properly for at least 30 seconds whenever they are dirty and most definitely after using the toilet, before eating or handling food and after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose. The inclusion of soap in your hand washing ritual is vital to eliminating any lurking germs. And remember to dry your hands thoroughly before leaving the washroom.
Don’t wash your hands of it!
Recognized as one of the pillars of international development and public health, hand hygiene has an impact not only on health but also on the general wellbeing of everyone and, by extension on the economy of countries around the world. We put this information in your good hands, not to spread germs, but the awareness and benefits of good hand hygiene. Make Global Handwashing Day count!