- Handwashing can help you get rid of infections from hands
- Wash your hands frequently to prevent diseases
- Use alcohol based sanitiser when water and soap is not available
Handwashing is a simple and viable approach to reduce the spread of germs. Global Handwashing Day is observed on 15 October each year to promote the importance of handwashing in preventing diseases. One of the most important things to remember about the prevention of COVID-19 infection is that, it can be avoided by something as simple as frequent and appropriate handwashing. This is a cheap, effective and safe way which can prevent you from falling sick. This can be easily taught to even a small child, to protect them against infections. The World Health Organization says that handwashing with soap and water saves lives. They have prescribed the 8 steps to perform effective handwashing.
Too much use of alcohol-based hand scrubs and sanitisers can cause irritation to child's tender skin. There is also the danger of poisoning if ingested accidentally by children. So, simple soap and water is preferred for use amongst children. Most children love to play with water, and so making it a game with a song and dance has been effectively used to teach children handwashing, and to help build a habit.
Practice frequent hand washing with soap for at least 40-60 seconds even when hands are not visibly dirty. Washing hands with soap and water is the most ideal approach. On the off chance that soap and water are not accessible, utilize an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol concentration, and wash your hands with soap and water when you can. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers can be made wherever feasible; especially when the child is outdoors. In order to inculcate this habit in kids, one must;
Lead by example: Make a point to try to do you what you ask others should do. Wash your hands before eating and preparing your meals, subsequent to utilizing the restroom, and after working or playing, or anything where you use your hands. These days it is even more important to teach your child to wash hands after touching high-contact surfaces such as elevator buttons, doorbells, etc.
Be patient: It requires some investment of time and patience for a child to build a habit & start handwashing, and do it appropriately. Make it a point to give assistance when required.
Remind as often as needed: Kids will wash their hands if dirt is self-evident, similar to mud or finger paint. They should be reminded to wash away germs that can't be seen too.
Tell them why: Once more, what is evident to grown-ups isn't generally to kids. On an essential level, clarify how hand-washing helps eliminate germs that can make them sick. You can even make a game out of it.
Seek the help of your family physician of a paediatrician to help ease the process; they may be able to share more interactive methods of building the habit of handwashing.
(Dr. Gurudutt Bhat, Consultant Paediatrician, Fortis Hospital, Kalyan)
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