Global Handwashing Day 2021: Know When And How To Wash Your Hands Correctly

Global Handwashing Day, observed on 15 October highlights the importance of washing hands regularly. Read here to know more about the significance of hand washing.

Global Handwashing Day 2021: Know When And How To Wash Your Hands Correctly

Global Handwashing Day 2021: Washing hands regularly can help prevent infections


  • Global handwashing day is observed on 15 October
  • Handwashing can help prevent the spread of infections
  • If soap and water are not available use an alcohol based hand sanitiser

On October 15, the world observes Global Handwashing Day to raise awareness and better understand the importance of hand hygiene in keeping you safe and healthy. The importance of handwashing has also increased tenfold since the Covid-19 outbreak, with personal hygiene being critical to your overall health. Making this a part of one's daily routine has saved many lives while also preventing viral infections and the flu. The theme for the Global handwashing Day 2021 is "Our Future is at Hand - Let's Move Forward Together."

Global Handwashing Day 2021: When should you wash your hands?

Germs accumulate on your hands as you touch surfaces, and objects throughout the day. You can spread these germs to others or infect yourself by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Although keeping your hands germ-free is impossible, Hand washing is the first line of defense against the spread of various illnesses, ranging from the common cold to severe infections like meningitis, bronchiolitis, the flu, hepatitis A, and different types of diarrhea.

Also read: Global Handwashing Day: Try These Ways To Inculcate Handwashing Habits In Kids

Always wash your hands before and after:

  • Food preparation/consumption
  • Taking care of a sick person or treating wounds
  • Wearing or taking off contact lenses
  • Using the restroom
  • Sneezing, coughing, etc.

Handwashing Day 2021: Regular handwashing can help prevent spread of germs
Photo Credit: iStock

What is the significance of washing hands?

1. Every year, 443 million school days are lost worldwide due to water-related illnesses and lack of hand hygiene, according to Wateraid.

2. According to the National Health Mission, approximately one lakh children in India die yearly due to diarrhea, which according to UNICEF, can be reduced by 40% by simply washing hands.

3. Decrease the number of people with gastrointestinal problems by 29-57%.

4. A good 58% can reduce the number of people with weakened immune systems.

5. Helps cut down respiratory illnesses and infections by 16-21%.

Also read: Why Is Handwashing Important To Fight Coronavirus? Know When And How To Wash Your Hands To Stay Safe

How long should one wash their hands for?

One should adequately wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the toilet or when hands are visibly dirty, before eating, and after blowing one's nose.

How should you wash your hands?

It is critical to establish sanitary habits in childhood to ensure that healthy decisions and actions are made throughout one's life. To get rid of those germs, follow these steps:

  • Wet your hands with either cold or warm running water.
  • Lather your hands up using soap, probably liquid.
  • For about 20 seconds, rub your hands together. Scrub the backs of your hands, wrists, between your fingers, and under your fingernails, among other places.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Pat dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry them.
  • Hand soap and water are preferable to hand sanitizer:

Also read: Clean Hands For All; Tips To Encourage Handwashing Habits In Kids

During unavailability of soap and water you can use alcohol-based sanitizer. Hand sanitizers containing alcohol are effective against some viruses but not against gastroenteritis, which requires squeaky clean hands using soap and water.

(Dr. Aditya S Chowti is a Senior Consultant Internal Medicine at Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bangalore)

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