We are quite particular about cleanliness. We wash our veggies a thousand times, swab the floors with disinfectants and wear freshly-laundered clothes. But do you know where your hands have been? One of the most neglected aspects of health and hygiene is handwashing. Hand hygiene goes a long way and is the first step towards preventing infections. In the present day and age, ignoring handwashing can trigger a host of different problems, including drug resistance. No wonder it is considered the cornerstone of any infection-control programme. Keeping your hands clean may seem like an insignificant step towards good health, but hand hygiene has been shown to reduce rates of infections of the stomach, skin and respiratory tract. Global Handwashing Day is celebrated world over on October 2015. On the occasion, let’s look at all the ways in which hand hygiene makes a difference to your health. Global Handwashing Day 2018: Theme and Significance of The Day Dedicated to Hand Hygiene.

Why Wash Hands?

For good health, it’s important to keep your body clean and your hands are no exception. Your hands gather a lot of filth since they are our primary tools for touching. Even shaking hands with another may cause transfer of germs. People are frequently touching their eyes, nose and mouth, without realising. So if you don’t wash them regularly, pathogens like Salmonella, E.Coli and norovirus find a way into our system, causing deadly diseases.

What Are The Benefits of Keeping Hands Clean?

Reduces Diarrhoea: One of the quickest ways to get a stomach bug is to keep your hands unclean. According to research, washing hands reduces the chance of diarrhoea by 23 to 4 percent! Even in people with a weakened immune system, clean hands can reduce diarrhoea by 58 percent. World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2018: Shocking Health Risks of Poor Menstrual Hygiene Women Should Know About.

Reduces Respiratory Illnesses: If you’ve been frequently down with colds and sniffles, you should pay extra attention to your hand hygiene. In the general population, studies have shown that handwashing can reduce respiratory illnesses like cold and pneumonia by 16 to 21 percent.

Reduces Absenteeism: Teaching your child good hand hygiene will reduce instances of absenteeism. Children who fall sick often tend to miss out on school. Studies say that good handwashing habits can reduce absenteeism by 29-57 percent.

Reduces Eye Infections: Diseases like conjunctivitis are spread through unwashed hands that constantly rub at the irritated eyes. It’s easy to re-infect yourself or others if you don’t keep your hands clean.

Reduces Skin Diseases: Most of the contagious skin diseases like hand, foot and mouth disease, scabies, ringworm and molluscum contagiosum are spread through touch. Clean hands can reduces chances of infections.

Reduces Dependence on Antibiotics: If we wash our hands more often, it will decrease the chances of infections and antibiotic use. Reducing dependence on these meds will prevent antibiotic resistance.

Improves Overall Health: By keeping your hands clean, you decreasing the pathogen load that your body has to deal with. Properly washed hands reduce the chances of infections and improve your overall health.

How To Wash Your Hands Properly

Keeping hands clean is important for your overall wellbeing. Wash your hands every time you use the toilet, before and after handling food, after using public transport and after coughing or sneezing. To do a thorough job, start by wetting your hands, running soap all over your hands and scrubbing your palms and under your nails. Keep the soap on for at least half a minute before you rinse off.

It’s a small step in hygiene, which can pay rich dividends, especially as far as health is concerned. This Global Handwashing Day, set a good example by following hand hygiene and teaching young ones the importance of keeping their hands clean.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 15, 2018 12:57 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).